The Obama administration must have been hearing some awfully threatening noises from the business community lately, because its unilateral delay of Obamacare’s employer mandate, from 2014 to 2015, is otherwise very difficult to explain. The delay is an embarrassing move for the White House and will create some serious new headaches for Obamacare’s defenders.
In a blatant exercise of arbitrary rule, the Obama administration announced this evening that it has unilaterally decided not to implement a key provision of Obamacare on schedule. By law, Obamacare’s employer mandate — its requirement that businesses with 50 or more workers provide federally sanctioned health insurance — should go into effect next year. By executive fiat, it won’t go into effect until 2015.
The Obama administration will announce later this week that it is postponing implementation (that would be "enforcement") of the employer mandate feature of Obamacare. Mike Dorning and Alex Wayne of Bloomberg are reporting:
...The decision will come in regulatory guidance to be issued later this week.
Addressing a largely Catholic audience Monday night at an event sponsored by the John Carroll Society in Washington, D.C., Cardinal Timothy Dolan emphasized the non-sectarian, non-partisan—catholic with a small “c”—nature of the fight for religious liberty. “It is not some far right, extremist cause,” Dolan said, but an “American human rights issue.”
One of the few bright spots in last week’s Supreme Court ruling on President Obama’s health care overhaul was a political one: The opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts argues that Obamacare is constitutional under the taxing powers of Congress. The Obama administration’s advocate before the Court, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, made this case during oral arguments, and Roberts bought it. The decision, in a sense, formalized what many conservatives had long argued: The Obamacare tax is a tax.
On May 7, 2012, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), the largest organization of rabbis in the United States, approved a resolution recognizing that the Health and Human Services (HHS) regulation that mandates employers provide access to contraceptives, abortifacient drugs, and sterilizations forces many employers to “violate the injunctions of their religion.” The RCA, which represents more than 1,000 Orthodox rabbis, urged the Obama administration to amend the regulation to protect the religious liberties of all employers.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has taken a bold stand for religious freedom. In a recent statement, titled “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” the bishops call for repeal of contraception coverage mandated by the Department of Health and Human Services. The clarified position sets up a dramatic confrontation with the Obama administration—and would, if the bishops prevail, help preserve the religious liberty of all Americans.
In light of the bruising that Solicitor General Donald Verrilli took during this week's oral arguments, no one can blame Obamacare's supporters for trying to offer (belatedly) winning answers that the government’s attorney lacked. Two of the early entrants are law professors Akhil Amar and Jeffrey Rosen. But their efforts do not improve much on the government's offering.
Yesterday, we endured an esoteric debate over a jurisdictional statute that practically no one expects to actually affect the Supreme Court's review of Obamacare. Today, by contrast, was the argument we've all been waiting for: the challenge to the constitutional merits of Obamacare's individual mandate.
The solicitor general had an interesting morning. He argued before the Supreme Court's nine justices that Obamacare's individual mandate isn't a "tax"—even though he'll argue tomorrow that the mandate is a "tax." And then the government's top litigator invoked the possibility of incompetent government litigators as a reason to reject an argument raised by the plaintiffs
Welcome to the Supreme Court's review of Obamacare. One day down, two more to go.