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Reason magazine features a commendable article by Peter Suderman describing the latest bureaucratic prestidigitation associated with ObamaCare. It reflects well the current reliance on agency regulation to break the promises made during the bill’s passage in ways that the voters have no redress to fight against. His article, HHS Is Altering Its Deal. Pray It Does Not Alter It Any Further. makes a point that can be expanded to how our current president uses his executive powers without any significant loss of generality.
Suderman does good work in laying out a fundamental problem of the new high-risk insurance plan, associated with President Obama’s helathcare reform agenda, not having anywhere near the resources it requires to deliver on the grandiose promises espoused to get ObamaCare passed.
We’ve known for months that funding for the high-risk pools was lower than needed to meet demand. Medicare’s chief actuary, Richard Foster, estimated that the $5 billion earmarked to run the subsidized insurance pools could run out as early as 2011, and the CBO estimated that it would require $5-10 billion in additional funding in order to run as intended.
(HT: Reason Magazine as linked above.)
To many, this may not raise any hackles or engender concern. Gubbermint sux, we’re used to it, this is just the Joe Pisarcik hand-off to Larry Csonka that we’ve all grown accustomed to from these turkeys.
If things simply remained screwed-up, and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were called in to fork over yet another “Stimulus Plan”, to cover the shortfall for the “least able among us”, because it was “the only decent thing to do,” we could all just nod smugly as another piece of America’s future got jammed into the In-Sink-Erator. But here’s where Suderman’s reportage reveals something more deeply and significantly wrong with Modern America than just the piss-poor coaches’ decisions that make economic statistics and budgetary performance “worse than expected.” Suderman sources to HealthAffairs.org which explains how the increasingly empowered HHS can clean this little mess up all by its own self.
At this time, HHS has not indicated how it might exercise its authority to close a deficit in the program. But the interim final rule issued on July 30 would permit adjustments to premiums, changes in the benefits the plans would be required to offer, limits on new applications, and other measures to limit program costs. These steps would probably reduce the number of individuals receiving coverage under the program.
If this were just HHS, it would be a scandal. This is not just HHS. Regulatory agencies under our current President are increasingly activist and increasingly empowered. They are no more accountable under President Obama than they were under Bush II, Clinton or FDR. Equipoise is lost and unelected Federal officials make decisions that impact the lives of citizens who have no recourse to debate or to law.
The EPA issues an Endangerment Finding regarding so-called Greenhouse Gases that is supported by science that has proven to be questionable at best. It does so, coincidental to a failed push in Congress to pass a Cap-And-Trade Bill aimed at curbing emissions of these gasses.
When the People’s Representatives reject an Obama Administration initiative or goal, it just gets tossed to the regulators for “further clarification.” The regulators are then employed to directly spurn the will of the governed. This blatant and unabashed contempt for both democracy and republicanism is an obvious milestone along America’s highway to hell.
America functions on the basis of a social contract between the governed and those who rule. The government serves a function that is supposed to be in accordance with the wishes of the governed to the maximum extent to which that is possible. Yet instead, we now find the terms of this contract being modified unilaterally by the current Presidential Administration to a much greater extent than other administrations before.
The regulatory apparatus of the Executive Branch now seems to exist to change and expand the survey of dominion rather than to institute and enforce the laws passed by Congress. Increasingly, America is a nation of men and not laws. Our profane and ignorant worship before the Obama Cult of Personality in 2008 has led to the Divine Right Presidency that we all now suffer under in 2010.
Thus Peter Suderman was condign in alluding to Darth Vader in his title. The American People forged a social contract with the institutions which govern. We were once a nation that recognized no feudal nobility. The Governing elites are altering their deal, pray that they don’t any further.
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