If Obamacare is the Law of the Land, then Why Does the Obama Administration Keep Ignoring It?

WhiteHouse.govWhiteHouse.govAt a conference of state legislators and health officials this week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius chided Republicans for their continued opposition to Obamacare. “This is no longer a political debate; this is what we call the law,” she said, according to CBS Atlanta. “It was passed and signed three years ago. It was upheld by the Supreme Court a year ago. The president was re-elected. This is the law of the land.”

That’s rich, given the administration’s recent track record. Sebelius and her colleagues in the White House may not like that Republicans are not eagerly lining up to assist the White House implement a law that they have always opposed. But their major forms of opposition—declining to expand state-based Medicaid programs, refusing to build state-run health care exchanges, saying mean things about the law—are all perfectly legal. This is true even if you think they are not serving the public, are not behaving with dignity, or are simply very bad people. The law, in combination with the Supreme Court’s Medicaid ruling last summer, gives Republican governors the ability to opt out of creating their own exchanges, and allows them to keep their current Medicaid programs without fear of penalty.

It is the Obama administration which has chosen to ignore the law of the land by selectively enforcing provisions, encouraging government agencies and ignoring clear legislative language that conflicts with the administration’s goals. The administration’s delay of the employer mandate, for example, is not supported by statute. And when questioned about his administration’s authority to enact the delay, Obama has not even tried to claim that it is; instead he has simply asserted the authority to delay the provision, and then returned to criticizing Republican opposition. When Republicans in the House voted to give Obama explicit authority to delay the provision, and to delay the individual mandate as well, he issued a veto threat.

WhiteHouse.govWhiteHouse.govThere have been other delays as well, on the income and health status verification requirements for state-based exchanges, on the out of pocket caps for insurance. 

In response to a provision in the law requiring congressional legislators and their staffers to buy insurance through the law’s exchanges, meanwhile, President Obama personally lobbied the Office of Personnel Management to rule that those employees could use their federal employer health benefit contributions toward the purchase of exchange-based coverage. But OPM has no authority to fund coverage not contracted through the federal benefits program.

And then there is the matter of the law’s insurance subsidies. The text of the law states only that these subsidies are available in exchanges created by states. Yet the administration has embraced a ruling by the Internal Revenue Service that allows the subsidies in the 34 exchanges run by the federal government.

Does the Obama administration believe that Obamacare is the law of the land—or that the law of the land is whatever the Obama administration says it is? 

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  • Almanian!||

    Why does the Obama Administration (PBUI) continue to ignore it?

    1) "Because the law is what I SAY it is."

    2) "Because something something Executive Power something."

    3) "Because fuck you, that's why."

    I'll take "All Of The Above" for $400, Alex.

  • Pro Libertate||

    One of the most troubling aspects of this administration is their belief, so far confirmed, that they can ignore the law, the Constitution, court orders, etc. without ill effect. Personally, I think we're not quite that far gone and that a comeuppance is on the way, but it hasn't happened yet.

  • ||

    a comeuppance is on the way

    Now THAT's optimism.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I cannot even fathom what form that comeuppance could take.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think things like this move very slowly. All of the scandals are likely to take their toll, and the more hubris demonstrated by the administration, the more one instance or another of it will make people uncomfortable.

    If the GOP were even mildly competent, they'd win by huge margins next election. As it is, I suspect they'll be in control of both houses.

  • Almanian!||

    If the GOP were even mildly competent

    The Stupid Party™ gonna Stupid.

  • fish||

    I cannot even fathom what form that comeuppance could take.

    Meteor strike

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So what you're saying is you want me to somehow find a way to reference the awesome move Armageddon here.

  • mr simple||

    Only Bruce Willis (R) can save us now.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    We win, Gracie!

  • fish||

    Help me Fist of Etiquette...you're my only hope!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    No.

  • PapayaSF||

    The Supreme Court has struck them down a number of times, though not often enough. The recent case involving recess appointments comes to mind.

  • Dave Rogers||

    They have a long history of US jurisprudence to base their opinion on. The Constitution is pretty much a joke.

    ...it's certainly not in effect as law of the land.

  • April06||

    my neighbor's step-sister makes $64 an hour on the laptop. She has been without a job for 10 months but last month her payment was $17489 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more http://www.max47.com

  • SweatingGin||

    The Rethuglicans will say mean things about him!

  • Bardas Phocas||

    A Rodeo Clown will make fun of the President, thus bring our shambling country to ruin.

  • Bryan C||

    That's verbatim from "Stuff Nostradamus Said, Volume XVI"

  • Gorilla tactics||

    RACIST!

  • pmains||

    "Quod principi placuit legis habet vigorem."

    "What pleases the prince has the force of law."

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Their default position is to ignore laws of the land, from the United States Constitution down to laws they themselves spearheaded.

  • thom||

    Right. But everybody else is expected to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the law at risk of going to prison. Textbook hypocrisy.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    Ignorance of the law is no excuse, unless you work for the government.

  • fish||

    Ignorance of the law is no excuse, unless you work for the government.

    Almost there...

    Ignorance of the law is no excuse, unless you work for the government....then it's mandatory

  • larry hammond||

    If you work for the government you don't even need to be ignorant of the law, just addressing an issue using social justice as the excuse is enough.

  • some guy||

    The vote on PPACA was really just a referendum on whether or not we should have "liberal" reform of the health industry. The Dems won that referendum, so it doesn't really matter what the bill says. They got the vote of confidence to just do what they wanted to do on this issue.

    /derp

  • Doctor Whom||

    They have to ignore the law to find out what it in it.

  • John||

    The law is a complete disaster. They just keep pushing off the full effects until after the next election. Right now Obama is terrified of losing the Senate and being a lame duck facing a hostile Congress. That might cause a few angry liberals to turn on him. No one likes a loser. So they will delay the effects, get through the mid terms, and the fuck the country royally after that. How the country reacts to the fucking is Hillary's problem.

  • Pro Libertate||

    He's been a lame duck for two years. Only a fawning media has kept the illusion that he's anything else.

  • fish||

    Only a fawning media has kept the illusion that he's anything else.

    Did someone call me?

    /Matthews

  • Pro Libertate||

    Fawning seems too tepid a word to describe Matthews feelings for the president.

  • fish||

    Fawning seems too tepid a word to describe Matthews feelings for the president.

    Fellatial?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Something in between that and fallacious.

  • Zeb||

    He's been a lame duck for two years. Only a fawning media has kept the illusion that he's anything else.

    Well, that and the people who reelected him a year ago.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's actually irrelevant. Lame ducks are usually second termers, after all. He isn't going to get shit done now, beyond maybe blowing up some people without legal authority.

  • Bryan C||

    Seems a lame-duck who's successfully asserted executive authority to make up, suspend, or enforce laws on the fly can get an awful lot of shit done. That's why he's doing it.

  • XM||

    Does Obama really care about losing the senate? After his presidency is over he could run as a governor or mayor in a deep blue state and continue his political career. Or he could get a cushy job at a corporation (gasp) somewhere.

    The guy wouldn't dare ignore the law if it was set to be implemented in January 2012. As it is, he'll enjoy 2,3 more years of golfing and vacationing without worrying about reelection.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    “This is no longer a political debate; this is what we call the law,” she said, according to CBS Atlanta. “It was passed and signed three years ago. It was upheld by the Supreme Court a year ago. The president was re-elected. This is the law of the land.”

    This is so retarded. First off, the president election has nothing to do with the status of a law. And of course, let me try this out:

    This is no longer a political debate; this is what we call the law. [Don't ask, don't tell] was passed and signed [twenty] years ago. It was [acknowledged] by the Supreme Court [that schools could lose funding for rejecting recruiters over it] [7] year[s] ago. [Clinton] was re-elected. This is the law of the land.

  • John||

    The right to possess a gun is no longer a political debate...

    The ban on gay marriage in this state is the law...

    The jokes write themselves don't they?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    They don't want a 'political debate' on gun ownership, they just want a 'national conversation'!

  • bmp1701||

    You mean a national conversation on whether your carry gun should be chambered in 10mm or .45 ACP?

  • UnCivilServant||

    .45ACP, I wouldn't be caught dead with a metric round.

  • fish||

    10mm is a lot harder to find as well!

  • Drake||

    Obamacare is the law of the land.

  • albo||

    Shut up, haters. When they guy you like is in power, it's not authoritarianism.

  • Almanian!||

    I wish someone "I like" would get "in power" someday so I could argue it's not authoritarianism...

  • bmp1701||

    RAMPAGING LIBERTARIAN PRESIDENT CLOSES JUSTICE DEPARTMENT, REPLACES SECRET SERVICE WITH "SEXY SERVICE" FEATURING AGENTS CINNABUNS AND FOXY ROXXY.

  • Curtisls87||

    I do like my government small, and funny.

    Unfortunately, the current government in D.C., is neither.

  • ||

    I wish normal people could be as flexible with the law as our current administration. Unfortunately, that usually results in harsh consequences and lectures about the sacredness of law.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    the law of the land is whatever the Obama administration says it is

    The correct answer.

  • ||

    on the out of pocket caps for insurance.

    They are delaying the limits on deductibles? That is EXCELLENT news.
    If individuals can continue to buy high-deductible policies, the whole edifice will crumble. People who are on cheap high-deductible plans are less able to subsidize other people (because, by definition, they are paying less into the system). That will kill off comprehensive coverage, especially if employers stop offering insurance. The only people with comprehensive plans will be sick people, which will destroy that market.

    We should be pushing to make that delay permanaent. Allow all high-deductible, catestrophic, and hospital-only plans to qualify to avoid the penalty.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Sounds like you want 30 million people to not have access health care!

  • PapayaSF||

    Because limits on deductibles will cause premiums to rise even more, delaying them is an attempt to delay the premium rise until after the election.

  • Jose Chung||

    It makes no difference. The only way the negative consequences of the PPACA will be blamed on the PPACA itself will be for all opposition to the law to cease, leaving no room for spin. As long as opposition exists, it will be branded with any failures resulting from the law, "If the Republicans would've only let the law work as designed, this would not have happened," will be the refrain.

  • Stevecsd||

    The employer sponsored high deductible plan for my wife & me would cost me $600 per month. I don't call that cheap!

  • R C Dean||

    “This is no longer a political debate; this is what we call the law,”

    The sweet, creamy lack of self-awareness is positively euphoric. This is the woman who has overseen how many waivers, exemptions, delays, etc.?

    And, of course, any law can be amended, and amendments are legislative, which means political.

    I wonder if she is merely malicious, and says what she says knowing all this, or is so genuinely stupid that she believes what comes out of her mouth?

  • fish||

    This is no longer a political debate; this is what we call the law,”

    Ric Flair says: Fuck you that's why.....woooooo!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Laws are for civilians to worry about.

  • Sevo||

    Leon Jaworski, "The Right and the Power"
    "Now the President may be right in how he reads the Constitution. But he may also be wrong. And if he is wrong, who is there to tell him so? And if there is no one, then the President, of course, is free to pursue his course of erroneous interpretations. What then becomes of our constitutional form of government?"

  • CampingInYourPark||

    I thought he was cool with the Eagles too

  • John Galt||

    Obama and the Democratic Party elite are royalty. The royals need not live by Law of the Land, they are the Law of the Land and the Law of the Land is whatever they please.

  • DarrenM||

    It knows how to put test in bold! I'm impressed.

  • Ballz||

    "Let me be clear, motherfucker."

  • Russ Davis||

    "Does the Obama administration believe that Obamacare is the law of the land—or that the law of the land is whatever the Obama administration says it is?"
    With scant few exceptions we know very well that this gang of lawless fascist criminals, all the way to the top, rejects the rule of law altogether, as the SCOTUS often does, e.g. lawless, fascist, criminal, traitor Emperor Tony Kennedy's nauseating, gaseous comments as he gleefully and lawlessly sodomizes us while having the deranged nerve to call universal historical opposition to this gross evil "animus" which is rather his depraved animus to civilized behavior.

  • Jose Chung||

    You forgot to mention the reek of single malt Scotch on his breath as he wheezes in your ear from behind during said Sodomization. That and the gaggle of cohorts and co-conspirators surrounding him and egging him on like some Potomac production of the rape scene from The Accused.

  • April06||

    Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this - 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, http://www.max47.com

  • April06||

    my neighbor's step-sister makes $64 an hour on the laptop. She has been without a job for 10 months but last month her payment was $17489 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more http://www.max47.com

  • Bean Counter||

    Why should this law be any different from every other law this administration has totally ignored? It's an OK article, but, GOD! what a stupid title!!

  • buybuydandavis||

    "We don't need no steenkin laws! We'll do what we want, and you'll take it and like it!"

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