In Casablanca, Captain Renault feigns surprise by famously declaring, “I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” Moments later, a croupier hands Renault a pile of money, saying, “Your winnings, sir.”
Just as Renault wasn’t really surprised that Rick’s Café would break the law, none of can be surprised this week that President Obama and the implementers of Obamacare are breaking the law – again. After all, they’ve played fast and loose with the law creating Obamacare since it was (sloppily) written and (barely) passed almost exactly four (long) years ago.
The most notorious of Obama’s law breaking has come from his decisions to delay deadlines that were set by Congress. Of course, most people think that when the President signs a bill into law, passed by both houses of Congress, the President has to follow the law – just like the rest of us. But Obama has repeatedly rejected that quaint proposition on which the rule of law depends.
When Obama didn’t like the deadline for states to decide whether to set up insurance exchanges, he pushed back the deadline. When he wanted to delay the employer mandate to 2015, he did. When he wanted to change next year’s open enrollment season, he changed it. When he didn’t approve of the online-enrollment timetable for small businesses, he delayed it. Last December, he extended the deadline for coverage effective January 1st. Two weeks later, he extended it again. The next month, he changed the closing date for high-risk insurance pools, which he had extended once already. (Still with me? There’s so much law breaking, it’s confusing.) And then he delayed the employer mandate (again). And then he delayed the deadline for high-risk pools (for the third time).
Now – in what is as surprising to us as gambling in the casino was to Captain Renault – Obama is delaying the final enrollment deadline beyond March 31st. “I’m shocked, shocked!”
What makes this delay different from the other countless unlawful delays is that the Obama administration was so adamant that it wouldn’t happen. Two weeks ago, the spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Julie Bataille, told reporters, “We have no plans to extend the open enrollment period.” Bataille has spent much of her life in politics working for some of the most notorious liars in modern political history – including the buffoonish my-grandfather-was-a-coal-miner-Joe-Biden and the masseuse-harassing inventor of the Internet, Al Gore – so she may have learned how to lie from some real experts.