But Mr. Trump isn’t a king; he doesn’t have the power to dispense with laws he dislikes. He swore to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. That includes the requirement, set forth in Article II, that the president “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”What a unique position to be taken on the issue of Obamacare:
- The Labor Department announced in February 2013 that it was delaying for a year the part of the law that limits how much people have to spend on their own insurance. This may have been sensible, but changing a law requires actual legislation.
- Later that year, the administration announced via blogpost on the eve of the July 4 holiday that it was delaying the requirement that employers of at least 50 people provide complying insurance or pay a fine. This time it cited statutory authority, but the cited provisions allow the delay of reporting requirements, not the mandate itself.
- The famous pledge that “if you like your plan, you can keep it” backfired when insurers started cancelling millions of plans that didn’t comply with Obamacare. So Obama called a press conference to proclaim that people could continue buying non-complying plans for another year—despite the ACA’s language to the contrary. He then refused to consider a House-passed bill that would’ve made this action legal.
- A little-known part of Obamacare requires congressional staff to get insurance from health exchanges, rather than a taxpayer-funded program. Obama directed the Office of Personnel Management to interpret the law to maintain the generous benefits.
- Obamacare grants tax credits to people whose employers don’t provide coverage if they buy a plan “through an Exchange established by the State”—and then fines employers for each employee receiving such a subsidy. No tax credits are authorized for residents of states where the exchanges are established by the federal government, as an incentive for states to create exchanges themselves. Because so few (16) states did, however, the IRS issued a rule allowing subsidies (and fines) for plans coming from “a State Exchange, regional Exchange, subsidiary Exchange, and federally-facilitated Exchange.” Yes, we can also blame the Supreme Court for upholding this.
- The Department of Health and Human Services granted more than 2,000 waivers to employers seeking relief from Obamacare’s regulations. Nearly 20 percent of them went to gourmet restaurants and other businesses in former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco district. Nevada, home to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, got a blanket waiver, while GOP-controlled states like Indiana and Louisiana were denied. Beyond political favoritism, such dispensations violate a host of constitutional and administrative law provisions like equal protection and the “intelligible principle” needed for congressional delegation of authority to cabinet agencies.
- HHS also continues paying insurance companies to compensate them for losses caused by Obamacare’s ignorance of basic economics. Alas, Congress never appropriated these funds, so the House of Representatives is suing the administration and won in the district court. Now on appeal, House v. Burwell is stayed until the D.C. Circuit hears from the incoming Trump administration.
Indeed, on this last point, here's how law professors Bagley and Gluck characterize Trump's decision to stop payments on a program which was not funded by Congress:
To sow chaos in the insurance markets, Mr. Trump toyed for nine months with the idea of eliminating a crucial funding stream for Obamacare known as cost-sharing payments. After he cut off those funds, he boasted that Obamacare was “being dismantled.”Federal Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled that those payments were not allocated by Congress and were therefore illegal. Is it the NY Times' position that Trump should ignore a federal judge? Or is that only the case when it comes to travel bans?
The rest of the article is just whining because Trump has changed insurance rules that were perfectly within his power because Obamacare endowed wide latitude to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. That was a great plan as long as Hillary was a shoo-in.