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Are These Obamacare Changes Unconstitutional?

Eleven state attorneys general are crying foul, calling U.S. President Barack Obama's unilateral Obamacare changes unconstitutional  since he is bypassing congressional approval.  

Last Thursday, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and 10 co-signatories sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to object to the Obama administration's recent changes to his healthcare brainchild.

The attorneys general argue that the courts have been clear that the legislative branch makes laws, while the executive branch has the power to enforce those laws – and they claim changes to Obamacare exceed precedents adjudicated by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Obamacare Changes: The Case for Illegal Action

The 11 attorneys general argue the courts have been clear that a president does not have the authority to completely eliminate the enforcement of an entire section of a statute. And that's exactly what the Obama administration did when it delayed the employer insurance mandate for one year.

They cite cases such as Heckler v. Chaney (1985), in which the high court decided that some executive branch's enforcement actions of laws are first subject to judicial review.

Typically, statutory language would spell out what the executive branch has the power to do. But because the language of Obamacare is particularly murky, legislative intent should serve as the fallback guide.

The legislative intent of Obamacare was for the entire population – individuals and employers – to pay money into a healthcare pool to keep costs down. But now the president delayed the employer mandate for a year, taking money out of the pool and, arguably, illegally changing the intent of the legislation.

To make this move legally, the Obama administration should have gone through the right channels and put the adjustment to congressional vote, according to the attorneys general. Otherwise, suspending a section of a statute for a year might be unconstitutional action from the executive branch.

According to Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott, a co-signatory on the letter, making these changes legally is just a phone call away.

"If the President called Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and said, 'Harry, I want you to agree with the U.S. House of Representatives, and pass the law they passed,' this would be solved. But the President won't do that," said Abbott.  

The employer mandate is not the only significant modification the Obama administration made post-facto, without congressional approval…

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  1. p.s. Vincent | January 5, 2014

    I am so perplexed over a president who wants to bully the very people who pay him, his lip service is wonderful but reality I feel like I am in the book that scared the hell out of me 1984. This is so personal for every citizen of this country. I actually believe the immigrants have a big advantage over we the supposed people. I do not believe I have even heard but maybe 4 or 5 of them mention we the people. Let's face it he has the goods on everyone which gives him an enormous amount of power. All of those corporate welfare situations are amazing but not surprising, not after I heard they gave a 17,000,000. Tax break to the Nevada prostitutes. Those p people my mom always warned me politicians, prostitutes, preachers, painters, plumbers, etc. Watch out for. Now we have Pork People.

  2. Lance | January 5, 2014

    Money is what can be used to buy things. Historically money has first been specie (gold and silver coins), then fiat money which is paper currency and checking accounts (M1) and more recently credit money. The credit money supply is what in aggregate can be bought on credit. Two hundred years ago your ability to take your friends out to dinner depended on whether or not you had enough coins (specie) in your pocket. One hundred years ago it depended on the quantity of currency in your pocket and possibly the balance in your checking account if the restaurant would take checks.
    Today it is mostly your credit card that allows you to spend. We no longer have a fiat money system. Today we have a credit money system. Just because there is still some fiat money does not negate the fact that we are on a credit money system. When we were on a basically fiat money system there was still a small amount of specie in circulation. Even today a five cent piece contains about 5 cents worth of metal, but no one would claim we are still on a specie money system.
    Fiat money is easy to measure; M1 was $1.376 trillion in 2007 and was $2.535 trillion in May 2013. The effective money supply is the sum of fiat money and credit money. Credit money cannot be precisely measured. However, When the person in California whose occupation was strawberry picker and who had made $14,000 in his best year was able to get a mortgage of $740,000 with no money down and private equity could buy a company like Clear Channel in a $20 billion leveraged buyout, also with essentially no money down, the credit money supply was clearly much higher than today. A reasonable ballpark estimate of the credit money supply is that it was $70 trillion in 2007 compared to $50 trillion today.
    The effective money supply is the sum of the traditional fiat money aggregates plus the credit money supply. Thus, despite the clams of Ron Paul and Rick Perry to the contrary, the effective or true money supply has fallen drastically over the last few years…”

    • Karl | January 7, 2014

      I agree. And, when some major borrowers can't repay their debt, that part of the credit money supply will evaporate as well. That is called deflation. It will continue until all credit excesses are wrung out of the system. The FED is trying to slow this process down and keep it under control by buying US debt and housing debt, but there is a limit of how much even they can swallow. At some critical point, it will suddenly go like an avalanche as one credit collapse will trigger the next until the only entities standing will be those holding cold, hard cash. Don't take my word for it, just observe the smart money also moving to cash.

  3. H. Craig Bradley | January 10, 2014


    " Badges, we don't need no stinking badges" ( Constitution). Banditos in the Hollywood Classic
    " Treasure of Sierra Madre ". Consider Executive Authority to be " Dictator Lite". Don't like it? Change it in Election (Nov.) 2016 or not.

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