Tag Archives: Rule of Law

Obama Administration Admits More Unworkability for ObamaCare

Great article from the American Spectator about how the Obama Administration has once again ignored the clear application of the law. This week’s unlawful delay has to do with the deadline by which individuals must sign up for insurance to avoid the individual mandate penalty. Here is the explanation:

“February 15 was supposed to be the last day to sign up for insurance on the exchange and avoid hitting the three-month limit. The reason is that health insurers require applicants to sign up for coverage by the 15th of the month for coverage that begins on the 1st of the following month. Thus, to qualify for insurance on the exchange that begins March 1, an applicant could sign up no later than February 15.

“If he signs up after February 15, the soonest his coverage would begin is April 1. That violates the three-month limit for avoiding the fine. Yet by pushing the deadline back to March 31, Obama has allowed even people who don’t get coverage until May 1—i.e., no coverage for four months—to avoid the penalty under the individual mandate.

“Here, specifically, is what the law says: Section 5000A(e) of Obamacare states, ‘EXEMPTIONS—No penalty shall be imposed…with respect to,’ and then lists the conditions for an exemption. Section 5000A(e)(4)(A) states that one of those conditions is ‘Any month the last day of which occurred during a period in which the applicable individual was not covered by minimum essential coverage for a continuous period of less than 3 months.’ 

“‘Less than 3 months.’ It’s there in black letters. And Obama is going to ignore it.”

Read the full article here.

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Suspension of ObamaCare Mandate Violates the Constitution

ObamaCare requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide insurance to all full time employees working at least 30 hours per week. Employers who fail to do this will face substantial monetary penalties. According to Section 1513 of ObamaCare, the mandate takes effect in “months beginning after December 31, 2013”. In other words in January 2014.

In response to the mandate, employers are reducing employee hours to less than 30 hour per week to avoid the mandate and its related penalties. It is decidedly inconvenient for the Democrats that employees are seeing their hours and pay reduced as a result of ObamaCare. Today, the Obama Administration announced they would be delaying the employer mandate until January 1, 2015 (pushing its effective date back one year).

This move is purely political. Voters will go to the polls angry in 2014 if ObamaCare has reduced their hours and pay. The Administration is acting to protect vulnerable Democrats from the consequences of this disastrous policy. Further proof of how political the Administration’s actions are is the fact that the delay expires less than 2 months after the 2014 election. If the mandate is bad policy with bad effects, then the law should be repealed – not delayed until just past Election Day.

The President’s actions violate the law, undermine the rule of law and infringe on Congress’s Constiutional powers. The deadline for this mandate to take effect is January 2014. Obama is ignoring the law. In doing so, he is infringing on the roll of Congress under the Constitution to write the laws.

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Sebelius Shakesdown Industry, Actions Questioned as Illegal

The Washington Post recently reported that Secretary of Health and Human Services Kalthleen Sebelius has been approaching “health industry officials, asking them to make large financial donations to help with the effort to implement President Obama’s landmark health-care law, two people familiar with the outreach said.”

This move prompted Members of Congress to question whether the Secretary had violated the law.  Senator Orrin Hatch commented, stating, “To solicit funds from health-care executives to help pay for the implementation of the President’s $2.6 trillion health spending law is absurd. I will be seeking more information from the Administration about these actions to help better understand whether there are conflicts of interest and if it violated federal law.”

Jason Young, an HHS spokesperson, defended the Secretary’s actions  arguing that ObamaCare encourages the Secretary to work with outside groups to implement the law.  The Secretary’s actions, however, would appear to violated the Anti-Deficiency Act as well as Department of Justice regulations. DOJ’s regulations, which apply to all Federal officials, prohibit Federal officials from fundraising in their professional capacity but they do allows a Cabinet member to solicit donations as a private citizen provided they do not “solicit funds from a subordinate or from someone who has or seeks business with the Department, and [the official does] not use [their] official title.”

By pointing to the law, HHS spokesman Jason Young has admitted that Sebelius was acting in an official capacity which suggests that Sebelius is violating the law.  The Washington Post reported:

“Meredith McGehee, policy director for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, which researches government ethics issues, said she was troubled by Sebelius’s activities because the secretary seemed to be ‘using the power of government to compel giving or insinuate that giving is going to be looked at favorably by the government.'”

Furthermore, the Washington Post reported that “industry official who had knowledge of the calls but did not participate directly in them said there was a clear insinuation by the administration that the insurers should give financially to the nonprofits.” In other words, Secretary Sebelius is working like the Corleone family from the GodFather, “it’s a mighty nice insurance company you have there, shame if anything would happen to it.”

Read more here and here.

UPDATE:  Michael Cannon from the CATO Institute has additionally commentary on this issue that can be found here.

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ObamaCare and Illegal Lobbying

According to a new report, the Obama Administration has used ObamaCare funding to finance illegal lobbying activities. Read more here.

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Obama Administration’s Stealth Budgeting to Fund ObamaCare

According to Avik Roy, the Obama Administration has quietly increased the amount needed to fund ObamaCare over the next decade by $111 billion. This officially disproves the Democrat’s notion that ObamaCare was “paid for”, “budget neutral” and “doesn’t increase the deficit” one iota (I think is what Nancy Pelosi said).

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Has HHS Violated the Hatch Act (Prohibiting Use of Federal Resources for Federal Campaigns)?

In November 2011, President Obama traveled to several states and engaged in an obvious campaign “stump speech” using the phrase “we can’t wait.” His charge is that Congress was not moving his agenda (the truth is that the Democrats have controlled the Senate since January 2007, his party still holds the majority in the Senate and his party is unwilling to vote FOR the president’s agenda). Despite these very obvious facts (coupled with the fact the American people wanted divided government and elected a huge Republican majority in the House in 2010 to serve as a check against the President’s agenda), the President is running on the idea that Congress won’t act.

So the President’s campaign agenda of “we can’t wait” will be a purely political message in 2012. Here enters HHS. On November 14, HHS issued a press release entitled: “We Can’t Wait: Health Care Innovation Challenge will improve care, save money, focus on health care jobs.”  This is a purely political press release and federal law (the Hatch Act) prohibits staff in the executive branch from engaging in political activities that are partisan in nature in the course of their duties or on federal property. The clear intent of the Hatch Act has been violated by officials at HHS.

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ObamaCare Doesn’t Give Sec. Sebelius Waiver Authority

Previous posts on this blog, Prescription for Disaster, have detailed how HHS Secretary Sebelius has used waivers to give special treatment to several of the Obama Administration’s favored groups, like labor unions.  A new analysis by Philip Hamburger, a law professor at Columbia Law School, calls into question whether Sebelius even has the legal authority to issue these waivers.

Section 2711(a) of ObamaCare prohibits insurers from imposing lifetime coverage limits and “unreasonable annual limits” on insurance policies. HHS issued regulations on June 28, 2010 that established the annual coverage limits.  The statute does not give the Secretary any authority to waiver these coverage limits.  So how is it that the Secretary has issued 1,040 waivers affecting 2.6 million?  In an Insurance Standards Bulletin, HHS’s Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight said. “the regulations also provided that these restricted annual limits may be waived by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).”

What does that mean?  It means that, according to HHS, Secretary Sebelius gave herself waiver authority.  She wrote regulations that give her more authority than the statute gives her.  Congress did not provide Sebelius waiver authority.  The word waiver appear 97 times in the law – but not in relation to annual coverage limits.  If Congress had intended her to be able to waive annual limits, Congress could have given her the authority to waive the limits.

This power grab on the part of the Secretary should be deeply disturbing to every American. If ObamaCare stands for the principle that unelected bureaucrats can give themselves powers by regulatory fiat, and without regards to Congressional delegation, then ObamaCare has caused us to lose far more than previously thought – it means we have also lost America’s republican form of government.

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