When liberal pro-Obama scholars question the legality of President Barack Obama's actions to implement Obamacare, the issue of illegal presidential use of power moves from partisan to frightening.
George Washington Law School's Jonathan Turley is the second most quoted law professor in the nation and a two-time Obama voter. He recently testified before Congress on Obama's extensive use of executive orders and administrative actions to make unilateral changes in Obamacare, immigration policy, minimum wage and the IRS qualifying standards for non-profit status.
As to Obamacare, Obama, so far, changed it in at least a dozen major ways, including, but not limited to, postponing the employer mandate, allowing insurance carriers to let their insured keep an old policy, and, more recently, redefining the Obamacare "hardship" exemption so broadly as to nullify the individual mandate for at least two more years.
Was this legal?
Turley said: "President Obama has repeatedly violated this (separation of powers) doctrine in the circumvention of Congress in areas ranging from health care to immigration law to environmental law. We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis with sweeping implications for our system of government. ... " We are now at the constitutional tipping point for our system."
Turley challenged Congress to re-assert its authority. "If balance is to be reestablished," he said, "it must begin before this President leaves office, and that will likely require every possible means to reassert legislative authority. No one in our system can 'go it alone' -- not Congress, not the courts, and not the President."
Obama sold Obamacare with many now-broken promises. Saving costs was a big one. In 2009, the Congressional Budget Office set the net cost of Obamacare at $599 billion over 10 years -- citing a gross cost of $848 billion less $249 billion in tax revenues and other cost savings. But recently the CBO revised the 10-year price tag to more than $2 trillion.
Economist Jonathan Gruber, the father of Romneycare -- which was the template for Obamacare -- recently admitted that well, no, costs will not be going down. "Covering people with health insurance doesn't save money," said Gruber. "That was sometimes a misleading motivator for the Affordable Care Act. The law isn't designed to save money. It's designed to improve health, and that's going to cost money."
So, Obamacare won't save money, but at least those too poor to afford health insurance will now lead healthier lives, right? Not necessarily.