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.
In addition to being a naked display of lawlessness, this action is an embarrassing setback to the Obama administration and — more importantly — to President Obama’s centerpiece legislation. More than three years after Obamacare’s passage — a passage marked by such shady backroom deals as the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, and Gator Aid — the administration is now admitting it has failed to get Obamacare up and running on time.
House Republicans should up the administration’s ante and vote to delay not just this one part of Obamacare, but all of it, until 2015. In doing so, they would not only be sparing Americans from Obamacare for another year — and thereby shortening the length of time between when it fully goes into effect and when it can be repealed — they would also be striking a blow for the rule of law. They would be acting through the constitutionally prescribed process of having the legislature make or alter the law, rather than through the constitutionally prohibited process of having the executive ignore or revise the law.
In addressing its unilateral decision not to implement this key provision of Obamacare on schedule — and thereby not to execute the law as written — the administration shamelessly describes its actions as being “consistent with effective implementation of the law.”
But as Ben Sasse, a prospective Senate candidate in Nebraska puts it, “The president has just given himself the line-item veto, well after he had signed the bill into law.” Sasse adds, “Apparently Obamacare is a living, breathing document designed to grow and change with the desires of the president.”
The whole thing should now be delayed by Congress until 2015, and then repealed in 2017.
Jeffrey H. Anderson is executive director of the newly formed 2017 Project, which is working to advance a conservative reform agenda.