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Sebelius on Obamacare: This is the Law of the Land (except when the law is not convenient)

Eye-opening words of HHS Secretary Sebelius yesterday:

“This is no longer a political debate; this is what we call the law,” Sebelius told a group that includes Democrats and Republicans, elected officials, political appointees and bureaucrats. “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.”

Except when it is not.

If this is the law of the land, why is our President of the United States picking and choosing the parts of law that he wants to implement and/or delay?

Just this morning, Forbes is reporting “that another costly provision of the health law—its caps on out-of-pocket insurance costs—will be delayed for one more year”.

Recently, there was a delay in the employer mandate.

Before that, “there was the announcement, buried in the Federal Register, that the administration would delay enforcement of a number of key eligibility requirements for the law’s health insurance subsidies, relying on the “honor system” instead”

And for starters in April 2012, there was a delay of Obamacare’s Medicare cuts until after the election.

Oh, and don’t forget the security flaws and delays recently revealed. Deadlines for security safeguard have been missed, and the date to implement that system has been moved to September 30 (one day before the exchanges open).

Here’s the problem. Sebelius and the Obama Administration want to use the argument “It’s the law of the land!” when they are criticizing Republicans for questioning Obamacare. At the same time, they are not followign the “law of the land” when they are moving deadlines, delaying implementation of the law, and using the honor system.

Michael McConnell wrote an excellent piece last month in the WSJ entitled ” Obama Suspends the Law: Like King James II, the president decides not to enforce laws he doesn’t like. That’s an abuse of power”

He points out the simple fact that “Article II, Section 3, of the Constitution states that the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This is a duty, not a discretionary power. While the president does have substantial discretion about how to enforce a law, he has no discretion about whether to do so”.

Indeed. When Obama decides to pick and choose the parts of the law he wishes to execute, he is not upholding “the law of the land”.

Is Obama using Obamacare to set up a series of precedents for which he easily dispenses with troubling or inconvenient laws or statutes, in order to expand his Presidential powers?

There are many reasons why Americans should continue to be wary of Obamacare. These include:

Fiscal — Staggering costs of the system, rising costs of premiums, etc

Medical — Not being able to keep your doctor or healthplans as promised. Concerns about rationing, death panels, etc.

Personal — Your information is, at this time, not secure, and is overseen by unregulated “navigators” (think TSA)

Operational — Obamacare was signed into law in March 2010. It was expected to be fully implemented January 1, 2014. Yet in those almost four years, Americans have seen delays, missed deadlines, cost changes, and more. If Obamacare can’t even be implemented without substantial missteps along the way, what confidence does the public have that it will run efficiently and properly?

Constitutional — Obama is ignoring deadlines contained in the law and delaying parts that are problematic

Americans will have varying opinions as to which of these concerns above is most acute. However, the Constitutional aspect might very well be the most troublesome. Invoking the “law of the land” when chastising your political opponents, while simulataneously ignoring the “law of the land” is the height of executive hubris. An expansion of power by the Executive Branch undermines our entire American system of government.

(cross-posted at alanjoelny.com)

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