Megan McArdle notes that Obama has changed his goals for his health care program.
The administration has given up on success, as it might once have defined it. The object is no longer 7 million people signed up through the exchanges, with 2.7 million of them young and healthy, and the health-care cost curve bending back toward the earth. It is to keep the program alive until 2015. The administration's priorities are, first, to keep Democrats from undoing the individual mandate or otherwise crippling the law; second, to keep insurers from raising premiums or exiting the marketplace; third, to tamp down loose talk about the failures on the exchanges; and, only fourth, to get to the place where it used to think it would be this year, with lots of people signed up for affordable insurance. It is now measuring the program’s success not by whether it meets its goals, but by whether it survives at all. And all of its choices are oriented toward this new priority.
You can see this in the decisions the administration made about fixing HealthCare.gov: It focused on the part that voters can see, even though the part that accurately transmits data to insurers is arguably more important -- is it better, or actually worse, to “sign up” a bunch of people when you can’t get that information to the insurers who need to write the actual policies? You can see it in the strategic delays, particularly the delay of the open enrollment deadline until after the 2014 elections. And you can see it in how the administration is treating insurers. As plan cancellations became a big political problem, the administration looked like it was preparing to blame insurers, which has been a very successful political tactic for them in the past. But it quickly walked that back, because with the program’s survival on the line, it needed insurers on board. That’s why the administration is looking to get extra money to the insurers; it’s the sweetener it needs to forbear little things such as possibly not getting accurate enrollment data, or payments, for months.
Guy Benson highlights stories of how people with pre-existing conditions are now finding out that they've been dropped from their health care plans and are now having to pay a great deal more than they did previously. And these are the people that the law was designed to help.
Byron York explains how the technical problems with the Obamacare website is dooming immigration reform.
Grace-Marie Turner explains why everyone should be worried about Obamacare, not just those people whose plans have already been cancelled.
And if you want to believe President Obama's blithe cheerleading yesterday about how Obamacare is bending the cost curve down, ponder the IRS's announcement that it cannot detect the fraud of people who claim that they are due refunds or subsidies for Obamacare. So the government will be forced to give out that money without any way to check to see if the claim is worthwhile. Think that this public announcement of the weaknesses of the IRS to oversee these requests is going to not encourage anyone to cheat?
Jonathan Turley, no conservative ideologue, testified yesterday before the House Judiciary Committee on President Obama's usurpation of executive authority. Turley testified that Obama's actions have unbalanced our constitutional system of checks and balances. His warning is very apt.
The recent nonenforcement policies add a particularly menacing element to this pattern. They effectively reduce the legislative process to a series of options for presidential selection ranging from negation to full enforcement. The Framers warned us of such a system and we accept it – either by acclaim or acquiescence – at our peril.He goes on to warn about what we are now seeing.
The current claims of executive power will outlast this president and members must consider the implications of the precedent that they are now creating through
inaction and silence. What if a future president decided that he or she did not like some environmental laws or anti-discrimination laws? Indeed, as discussed below, the
nonenforcement policy is rarely analyzed to its natural conclusion, which leads to a
fundamental shift in constitutional principles going back to Marbury v. Madison. The separation of powers is the very foundation for our system; the original covenant reached by the Founding Generation and passed on to successive generations. It is that system that produces laws that can be truly said to represent the wishes of the majority of Americans. It is also the very thing that gives a president the authority to govern in the name of all Americans. Despite the fact that I once voted for President Obama, personal admiration is no substitute for the constitutional principles at stake in this controversy. When a president claims the inherent power of both legislation and enforcement, he becomes a virtual government unto himself. He is not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system; he becomes the very danger that the Constitution was designed to avoid.
Once again, it is important to divorce the subject of such legislation or the identity of the president from the constitutional analysis. The circumvention of the legislative process not only undermines the authority of this branch but destabilizes the tripartite system as a whole. If President Obama can achieve the same result of legislation by executive fiat, future presidents could do the same in negating environmental or discrimination or consumer protection laws. Such practices further invest the Administrative State with a degree of insularity and independence that poses an obvious danger to liberty interests protected by divided government. This danger is made all the more menacing by the clear assumption by the Executive Branch that artificially narrow standing rules will insulate the orders from judicial scrutiny and relief. With Congress so marginalized and courts so passive, the Fourth Branch threatens to become a government unto itself for all practical purposes.Professor Turley didn't have any recommendation of how to stop the damage that President Obama has done. As we've seen with the filibuster, whatever one party does, the next party will not only do, but expand. Thus, we will see a never-ending escalation of presidential power, bounded only by the personal honor of the person in office. That shouldn't be a comforting thought for anyone.
One cybersecurity expert warns that it could take a year or more to fix all the security holes in healthcare.gov. And that might be the optimistic prediction. But go ahead. Take Obama's word for it and give them your Social Security number and financial information. You can trust him.