In advocating for the monstrously long and complex statute known as Obamacare, Nancy Pelosi infamously claimed that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
Congress did pass it — just barely — and yet we still don’t know exactly what’s in it. But we have seen enough to know it’s a big steaming pile of statute, a hot mess of legislative logorrhea.
Just as observers took in the news last week that the Obama administration unilaterally delayed implementation of Obamacare’s employer mandate, the administration’s next move sidestepped the verification requirements of the same controversial law.
That law — which Congress passed through tricky maneuvers, backroom dealing and questionable procedures — imperils our health and jeopardizes the functioning of one-sixth of our economy.
Now, in clean-up mode, the administration’s strategy must be to sign up as many people for government-mandated health insurance as possible, send the bill to the taxpayers in contravention of the law and declare the patient cured.
By fiat, the administration delayed the employer insurance mandate, required by law to go into effect on January 1, 2014. The employer mandate penalizes — or taxes — certain employers who do not provide health insurance to their employees.
Despite delaying the employer mandate, the federal government will rely on self-reporting for anyone who wants to qualify for taxpayer-funded subsidies. In other words: “For free money from the government, please sign here.”
This latest move demonstrates five important points about U.S. healthcare policy:
1. In deciding to delay the implementation of the law, Obama has yet again demonstrated that he is running an imperial presidency. “I am not a dictator,” he insisted. But Congress, as the legislative branch, passes the laws, and the president, as the executive, is supposed to enforce the laws.