Betsy McCaughey

Tell Santa to bring President Obama a stocking stuffer: a copy of the U.S. Constitution with the words “Laws be faithfully executed” underlined in red. Those words define the President’s most important duty. But Obama, himself a constitutional lawyer, is ignoring the Constitution and governing like a dictator.

His latest ploy exempts unions from a fee that the Affordable Care Act imposes. Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, who voted for Obama and professes to agree with him on healthcare and other issues, didn’t mince words when he testified before the House Judiciary Committee on December 3. Turley warned that Obama’s power grabs are causing “the most serious constitutional crisis I’ve seen in my lifetime.” Several law professors and policy experts laid out a litany of the president’s constitutional transgressions. He has delayed and rewritten key provisions of his healthcare law, and weaseled a special insurance subsidy for members of Congress that the law did not provide. When Congress refused to enact his immigration and environmental policies, he imposed them by edict, granting amnesty to illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, and forcing regulations on coal plants that will likely bankrupt that industry.

Most recent is Obama’s trick to spare unions from a fee that section 1341(b)(1)(A) of the Affordable Care unambiguously imposes on all large group health plans. Faithfully executing the law means applying it even-handedly. Dictators do the opposite, playing favorites.

The union give-away is buried on page 72340 of the Federal Register for December 2, a voluminous publication where government discloses its mind numbing regulations. The Affordable Care Act set up a reinsurance program to compensate insurers in the individual market hit with high costs covering people with pre-existing conditions. The money is raised with a fee imposed on all group health plans, starting in 2014 through 2016, designed to raise $25 billion in all. Insurers and self-insured employers pay in proportion to the number of people they cover, so in 2014 the fee is $63 per covered person.

For three and a half years, the Obama administration crafted regulations to impose the fee on all large group plans. But in the fall of 2013, unions pressed for an exemption. Then these words appeared on December 2:

“Our continued study of this issue leads us to believe that this provision may reasonably be interpreted in one of two ways – it may be interpreted to mean that self-insured, self administered plans must make reinsurance contributions, or it may be interpreted to mean that such plans are excluded from the obligation…”

Betsy McCaughey

Betsy McCaughey, Ph.D, is a former Lt. Governor of New York State and author of Beating Obamacare