You’re No Prince, Mr. President

Last week the Administration announced that the Employer Mandate would be again further delayed – at least in part. Businesses with between 50 and 99 employees working 30 hours or more will not be required to make available mandated healthcare coverage until 2016. While businesses with 100 or more employees working at least 30 hours only need offer coverage to 70% of their employees in 2015, rather than 95% (which will not be mandated until 2016).

“Well, isn’t that conveeeeeeeenient . . .”

A little too thinks Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah). On this morning’s Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Lee said that he believes the President is creating a “government of one” by further delaying the mandate – and in his view, ignoring the Constitution in the process.

Sidebar: how much longer do you think Mr. Wallace will be able to withstand Fox’s propaganda machine?

E.g., watch embarrassing exchange between
Chris Wallace and Tucker Carlson.

The premise of Mr. Lee’s position was that the president’s choice to delay the employer mandate was, “a shameless power grab that’s designed to help the president and his particular party achieve a particular outcome in an election. And that’s wrong.”

I think Mr. Lee is right.

Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) defended the initiative on Fox News Sunday by claiming, “the president is simply providing small businesses with the flexibility they need.”

Sorry Mr. Becerra, that rings hollow and you should have been embarrassed to even pretend to believe that had anything to do with the delay. I obviously can’t speak for other supporters, but from my vantage Mr. Obama’s renegade approach to policy making has gone too far.

I have been  a pretty ardent supporter of the Affordable Care Act, and I continue to believe that, on balance, it will ultimately bring about necessary and desperately needed changes in the way our healthcare delivery system is designed. I also continue to believe that our failure to address the cost trajectory of our delivery system would have ultimately resulted in fiscal choking from within and ultimately destroy our economy. Finally, because of the unique characteristics of healthcare as an economic commodity – as well as the regulatory infrastructure that has already been in place for decades – I do not believe it is either wise nor prudent to think that a market-based system of healthcare can be successfully compatible with a progressive society. Most of the rest of the developed countries in the world agree.

Those beliefs notwithstanding, the wisdom of Nancy Pelosi grows daily: it’s not just that the ACA had to be passed to find out what’s in it – it’s that clearly the promulgation of regulations implementing the ACA under executive authority has at times supplanted the function of legislative authority. Regardless of how frustrating and demoralizing this Congress has been, there are reasons why certain powers are reserved to the legislative branch and certain powers are reserved for the executive branch.

But the timing of this latest action – whether a tipping point or accumulative – is not only a supplanting of legislative authority but also crosses an ethical line between governing and politics, which of course in Washington requires quite a journey to traverse.  In using what I will term, Obamavellian Authority, the president has repeatedly overstepped executive authority and dared to tread over boundaries that presidents of both parties from the past respected (well okay, maybe not Nixon).

It’s time the president’s supporters call him to account in the interest of democracy and respect for a way of life that transcends political allegiances. Hope you agree, but if not, I would love to hear from you.


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