« WSAU Opinion Blog

OPINION - Cutting Congress out

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU) There are dates written into our Affordable Care Act. The law says the new insurance exchanges were to be up and running by October 1st. In many states like Wisconsin, the open enrollment period was to end by December 15. New insurance coverage was to begin on January 1st. You’d face a financial penalty if you weren’t signed up by February 15th.

These are dates set by statute. They’re a part of the text of the bill that was voted on by Congress and signed by the President. The President doesn’t get to change the law by fiat. Want the law changed? You’re supposed to go to Congress and ask them to vote on it.

Today the Obama Administration is changing a deadline on their own. You’ll have until the end of March to sign up for insurance.

Going to Capital Hill is not practical. Requesting a change would have required negotiations and give-and-take with Congress. Republicans might stick with the current ‘let it burn’ strategy. Or they might demand a price for pushing back the 6-week delay; something like delaying the medical device tax or perhaps delaying the individual mandate for six-months or longer.

Consider the rank hypocrisy. During the government shutdown the White House said any changes to ObamaCare would be deal-breakers. Back then, it was mandatory the law be implemented as-is. Actually, changes that would have come even under the hostage-taking of the debt ceiling debate would be more legitimate than what’s happening now. Those changes would have been signed-off-on by the legislative branch. There won’t be an uproar, since acknowledgement that the roll-out is a debacle is now bipartisan. But what we have today is the President making it up as he goes along. Let’s be clear about what’s happening: this is extra-Constitutional.

Chris Conley