During the implementation process of the President’s signature healthcare overhaul, the Administration of President Barack Obama has disregarded aspects of Obamacare law. It’s a practice for which the Administration has been widely criticized, and it’s the focus of a new report from Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
On Monday, Cruz released the second installment in a series, entitled “The Legal Limit: The Obama Administration’s Attempts to Expand Federal Power,” which examines the Administration’s use of executive power. In his report, Cruz decries the Administration’s “unilateral rewriting of parts of the Affordable Care Act, and the law’s multiple statutory and constitutional infirmities.”
“President Obama has made explicit that if the Congress won’t agree to his preferred policies, then the President will simply rewrite the law through an abuse of executive power,” Cruz said with the release of his report. “For over two centuries, we have been a nation of laws, not men, and Republicans and Democrats should both be united against any President who refuses to follow the law. This arrogation of power to the Executive undermines the rule of law, and poses a grave threat to our Constitution and to the liberty of every American.”
Cruz charges that the President and Democrats abused the American populace by forcing a government shutdown rather than allowing for a Republican delay of the law.
“Democrats forced a government shutdown instead of agreeing to a congressional delay of Obamacare, but now the Obama administration is unilaterally delaying it,” he wrote in his report. “This undermines the rule of law.”
The report notes the Administration’s unilateral effort to delay many of the healthcare law’s most unpopular provisions until after 2014 — a strategy that many Republicans argue is a ploy to protect Democrats from Obamacare fallout during the midterm elections.
Cruz goes on to note that the Obama Administration has unfairly and illegally insulated Congressional employees from aspects of the law that will affect average Americans:
The Administration deliberately misconstrued “health benefits plan” when it concluded that Obamacare exchange health insurance plans fit within this definition. Federal law defines “health benefits plan” to mean “a group insurance policy . . . for the purpose of providing, paying for, or reimbursing expenses for health services.” 5 U.S.C. §8901(6) (emphasis added). Obamacare does not allow “official” congressional staff to continue receiving pre-Obamacare federal health insurance plans; instead these staff are forced to go through the Obamacare exchanges to purchase health insurance. So just like average Americans, these individual congressional staffers will have to purchase a plan for themselves. This is not a “group” insurance plan covering a number of different people. This is an individual plan. So the government lacks authority to subsidize the plans that official congressional staff buy through the Obamacare exchanges. But the President did so anyway.
The Senator’s report champions two high-profile challenges to Obamacare: one challenging subsidies to States that have allowed the Federal government to run their Obamacare exchanges, and the other dealing with complaints that the healthcare law violates religious freedom with its employer contraceptive mandate. Both cases are expected to be addressed by the Supreme Court in coming months.