Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Obamacare Glitch has Administration Going Around Congress Again

During the Obamacare debate last year, one of the things that got the most attention was the thousands of pages that made up the legislation. There was no possible way any good could come from it. Ironically, the Obama administration, as well as the laws proponents, may be suffering from the law's size as much as anyone. If you remember, earlier this year, Federal District Court Judge Roger Vinson struck down the entire law as unconstitutional because he found the individual mandate unconstitutional. Had the legislation included a severability clause - which allows one part of a law to be removed while keeping the rest in tact - he likely wouldn't have done that. The lack of a severability clause was indeed an oversight by the bill's crafters.

Now there appears to be another "glitch" and the Obama administration is attempting to insert it into the bill without going through Congress.

Via WSJ:
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act offers "premium assistance"—tax credits and subsidies—to households purchasing coverage through new health-insurance exchanges. This assistance was designed to hide a portion of the law's cost to individuals by reducing the premium hikes that individuals will face after ObamaCare goes into effect in 2014. (If consumers face the law's full cost, support for repeal will grow.)

The law encourages states to create health-insurance exchanges, but it permits Washington to create them if states decline. So far, only 17 states have passed legislation to create an exchange.

This is where the glitch comes in: ObamaCare authorizes premium assistance in state-run exchanges (Section 1311) but not federal ones (Section 1321). In other words, states that refuse to create an exchange can block much of ObamaCare's spending and practically force Congress to reopen the law for revisions.

The Obama administration wants to avoid that legislative debacle, so this summer it proposed an IRS rule to offer premium assistance in all exchanges "whether established under section 1311 or 1321." On Nov. 17 the IRS will hold a public hearing on that proposal. According to a Treasury Department spokeswoman, the administration is "confident" that offering premium assistance where Congress has not authorized it "is consistent with the intent of the law and our ability to interpret and implement it."

Such confidence is misplaced. The text of the law is perfectly clear. And without congressional authorization, the IRS lacks the power to dispense tax credits or spend money.
Frankly, with what I've seen from this administration, relative to issuing edicts when it should be going through Congress, I have little to no confidence that it will be unsuccessful in this case. However, if there is a takeaway here, it's that an oversight on the part of Obamacare's authors only serves to shine a brighter light on Obama himself. These antics are also not likely to go unnoticed when the Supreme Court takes up the case in the spring.

In the months since Obamacare was passed, it has continued to take significant hits. Revelations that one Supreme Court Justice - Elena Kagan - cheered the bill's passage certainly doesn't help either.

h/t Hot Air

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