The President Defies the Constitution to Save Obamacare
Presidents Are Required to Enforce the Law; They Have No Authority to Rewrite It
With only a little more than a month remaining before the Obamacare insurance exchanges open for business, President Obama continues to defy the Constitution by rewriting the law at will.
The debate rages in Congress over defunding Obamacare, delaying full implementation, or altering certain provisions of the law. It is impossible now to know the outcome. But whatever happens, Congress needs to reassert its authority and give the president a basic lesson in constitutional law.
Article II of the Constitution requires that the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This is not an option. It is a mandate.
If the president disagrees with specific provisions of a law, he can send a proposal to Congress to change it. But he has no authority to rewrite it himself.
President Obama is no stranger to finding clever ways to manipulate the law. When Congress failed to pass a “Dream Act,” he created one himself by executive fiat. When he wanted to make appointments without the advice and consent of the Senate, he declared the Senate in recess.
Now, with the implementation of Obamacare hopelessly behind schedule, the president has taken to rewriting the law himself.
He declared a one-year delay to the mandate that businesses provide insurance for their employees. The limits on out-of-pocket expenses for the insured also received a one-year delay. He personally brokered a deal to exempt members of the House and Senate and their staffs from compliance with the law.
The president could step forward and admit that Obamacare is a complex and costly enterprise that is impossible to implement by January 1. He could show leadership and suggest specific delays or changes that would challenge the Congress to cooperate.
But Obama is nothing if not stubborn. To him, this no doubt would be an admission of failure. Besides, he sees everything through a political rather than a policy lens. He is determined to make Obamacare a key issue in the 2014 midterm elections and he intends to win.
Before the president left Washington for vacation earlier this month, he lambasted Republicans in a White House press conference when he said they were committed to depriving health care to the millions of the uninsured. In his weekly media address last Saturday, he said Republicans would shut down the government if they fail to shut down the health care law.
It is time to hold the president accountable for his unconstitutional actions. He has made such actions a hallmark of his presidency on a host of issues. It has to stop. Obamacare is the place to begin.
Obamacare will forever change the relationship between citizens and their government. It will permanently affect nearly one-fifth of the American economy. It is the most sweeping healthcare law since passage of Medicare and Medicaid nearly 50 years ago
There is no doubt that Congress should make changes in Obamacare. It should scrap the whole thing and start over or drastically alter its implementation. Regardless, the president has no authority to rewrite the law himself. The Constitution forbids it.
During the course of his career, Walker has worked in Chicago, Washington DC, New York City, and Phoenix. He served as a reporter in Chicago, a press secretary and speechwriter in Washington, and in numerous positions in New York in corporate and financial services communications.
Walker is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.