Skip to comments.Could a Republican President Gut Obamacare Unilaterally?
Posted on 08/02/2013 5:03:56 AM PDT by onyx
On the cusp of the July 4 holiday weekend, President Obama quietly announced (via an underlings blog post) that he had unilaterally chosen to delay Obamacares employer mandateits requirement that businesses with 50 or more workers provide federally approved health insurance. Obama claims to possess the legal authority to choose not to execute this aspect of the law that he spearheaded and signed, despite the fact that Obamacares text declares that the Shared Responsibility for Employers Regarding Health Coverage provision, commonly known as the employer mandate, shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.
Thats almost exactly the same language that Obamacare uses to refer to the starting date for its budget-busting exchange subsidies. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that, over the next ten years, Obamacare would funnel a colossal $1.212 trillion from American taxpayers, through Washington bureaucrats, to insurance companiesthe ultimate recipients of those subsidies. Obamacares text states that the subsidies shall apply to taxable years ending after December 31, 2013.
So, if Obama can unilaterally decide not to execute Obamacares employer-mandate provisions (which shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013), does this mean that a future Republican president can unilaterally decide not to execute its exchange-subsidy provisions (which shall apply to taxable years ending after December 31, 2013)? If Obama can grant himself what Nebraska Senate hopeful Ben Sasse calls a de facto line-item veto over parts of an existing law, then couldnt a future Republican president grant himself that same power and wield it over different parts of that same law? If Obama isnt constrained to execute laws as written, wouldnt a future GOP president enjoy similar liberties?
In truth, if a future Republican president were to claim to have the authority to choose not to execute Obamacare as written, it would represent an egregious violation of the public trust, the presidential oath, and the separation of powers. The most essential power or duty that the president possesses is one that we generally (perhaps too casually) take for granted: his constitutional responsibility to take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed. The first line of Article II (the Constitutions executive article) reads, The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America; the full executive power is vested in just one person. If we elect a president who doesnt take seriously his responsibilityhis dutyto execute the laws as written, then the Constitution affords us little recourse (at least short of impeachment). In this way, both the Constitution and the citizenry put an extraordinary level of trust in just one man.
If a future Republican president were to claim to have the power not to pay out Obamacares taxpayer-funded exchange subsidies the power to delay that portion of the law for whatever period of time he chose and thereby effectively change the law it would be a gross abdication of duty. If that were to happen, hopefully that Republican president would not threaten to veto as unnecessary subsequent legislation to amend the law and grant the delay that he or she sought, thereby restoring the rule of law. And hopefully he or she wouldnt say something like this:
Well, this was a very practical decision that actually doesnt go to the heart of us implementing [Obamacare] .
I will seize any opportunity I can find to work with Congress to strengthen the middle class, improve their prospects, improve their security...but where Congress is unwilling to act, I will take whatever administrative steps that I can in order to do right by the American people.
Simply grant every American an indefinite, universal waiver.
A conservative perhaps. A Republican, no way. They don’t have the heuvos to do it.
Push comes to shove, an EO by a conservative president could defund and sweep it away as well.
No. The same Democrats who say it’s legal for Zer0 to unilaterally alter 0bamaCare would say the opposite for a Republican president, and the GSM would throw their old positions down the memory hole. Welcome to Ingsoc.
That's about the only way a Republican president could stop it. Democrats in the Senate will filibuster any attempts to legislate it away.