Morning Action: Obamacare Continues to Crumble
First, there was the delay of Obamacare’s Medicare cuts until after the election. Then there was the delay of the law’s employer mandate. Then there was the announcement, buried in theFederal Register, that the administration would delay enforcement of a number of key eligibility requirements for the law’s health insurance subsidies, relying on the “honor system” instead. Now comes word that another costly provision of the health law—its caps on out-of-pocket insurance costs—will be delayed for one more year.
According to the Congressional Research Service, as of November 2011, the Obama administration had missed as many as one-third of the deadlines, specified by law, under the Affordable Care Act. Here are the details on the latest one.
Obamacare contains a blizzard of mandates and regulations that will make health insurance more costly. One of the most significant is its caps on out-of-pocket insurance costs, such as co-pays and deductibles. Section 2707(b) of the Public Health Service Act, as added by Obamacare, requires that “a group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage may not establish lifetime limits on the dollar value of benefits for the any participant or beneficiary.” Annual limits on cost-sharing are specified by Section 1302(c) of the Affordable Care Act; in addition, starting in 2014, deductibles are limited to $2,000 per year for individual plans, and $4,000 per year for family plans.
IMPERIAL PREZ. Heritage explains that President Barack Obama has show “distinct contempt for the legal limits on his power”:
In a recent email to supporters, President Obama lamented the frustrating inadequacy of his office. “There’s only so much I can do on my own” without Congress, he confessed.
As a matter of constitutional interpretation, he’s right. But in practice, the President has shown a distinct contempt for the legal limits on his power.
Obama’s imperial presidency has manifested itself in many ways. Often he willfully neglects his constitutional duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” As we’ve seen with education, immigration, and health care, suspending the law amounts to rewriting the law.
Other times, the President is more direct. The legislative power may be vested in Congress, but that didn’t stop him from rewriting welfare legislation on his own, hollowing out the successful federal work requirements.
VINEYARD VACA. While America languishes under the President’s signature healthcare law and tries to stop it, he is enjoying a lavish vacation on Martha’s Vineyard with his family:
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attended a cocktail party this evening at the Martha’s Vineyard home of National Public Radio host and special correspondent Michele Norris, according to the White House pool report. Norris’s husband, Broderick Johnson, is a lobbyist who worked on Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.
HAFA. Heritage Action for America was created to hold Congress’s feet to the flame. The Heritage Foundation is still producing the best conservative policy solutions; we’re working to make those solutions a reality. Some Members of Congress don’t like that, but as the Weekly Standard reports, holding lawmakers accountable to conservative principles means we’re doing our job:
HA sees the feud differently. As far as it’s concerned, many congressional Republicans campaign on conservative principles but vote the other way. HA cites countless examples of legislators who vote for spending in their districts and want their constituents to know about it. Asked about one such instance—federal funds for local disaster relief—Holler said, “You can maintain your conservative principles while still figuring out a way to [help disaster victims]. And Heritage has laid out a lot of good policy on stuff like that, too. There’s a way to do it—the question is, will lawmakers do it?”