11 state GOP attorneys general call Obama's health insurance fixes 'illegal'
About time someone called the president out on this.
Eleven GOP attorneys general say the Obama administration is breaking the law by repeatedly making changes to ObamaCare without going through Congress.
The attorneys general specifically criticize President Obama's executive action that allowed insurance companies to keep offering health plans that had been canceled for not meeting ObamaCare's more rigorous standards.
"We support allowing citizens to keep their health insurance coverage, but the only way to fix this problem-ridden law is to enact changes lawfully: through Congressional action," the attorneys general wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "The illegal actions by this administration must stop."They say the healthcare fix was "flatly illegal under federal constitutional and statutory law." HHS did not respond to a request for comment.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey wrote the letter, which was signed by his counterparts in Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia.
Signatories include Gregg Abbott of Texas - who's running for governor this year - and Ken Cuccinelli of Virginia.
James D. "Buddy" Caldwell of Louisiana was previously a member of the Democratic Party, but switched to the GOP in 2011.
Republicans have often criticized the administration for making changes to the law after the fact. Other switches included the decision to delay the employer insurance mandate for a year, something many lawmakers said should have required a congressional vote.
Obama changed the law to allow insurance companies to allow canceled plans after coming under criticism when millions of people found out their plans were no longer being offered despite Obama's repeated promise that under ObamaCare, people would be able to keep their insurance plans if they liked them.
The change, the Republican attorney generals argue, exceeds precedents set by Supreme Court decisions.
The officials point to the 1985 Heckler v. Chaney case, in which the Supreme Court concluded that some enforcement actions of laws might be subject to judicial review first.
Given what has already transpired and what is expected in the coming year regarding Obamacare, the president's lawlessness will almost certainly continue. The question is: Will anyone anywhere do anything about it?
It's hard to see who would have standing to challenge his actions in court. The states themselves are being asked to violate the law by ignoring the ACA's mandated coverages and allowing inferior plans to go forward. I'm sure the AG's are looking at that option. But the challenge won't occur in federal court:
The incorporation of the ACA into state law also opens more possibilities for judicial challenge. While the Constitution limits standing to challenge non-enforcement in federal courts, state courts do not operate under these limits, and can potentially hear cases that would not make it into federal court.
President Obama's fix, of course, only "encourages" states to go along with his plan, as the letter to state insurance commissioners puts it. The administration is only "encouraging" states to disobey federal law, in other words. This is something new. Even the radical and discredited states rights' "doctrine of nullification" only allows states to ignore federal laws that they consider unconstitutional, not simply politically inconvenient.
Rule by decree. The exercise of arbitrary power. Seems like I heard a few warnings about those things from a guy named Jefferson.