Obamacare – The Introduction to a New Way to Govern
I’ve talked many times about the impact that Obamacare has had on everyone’s pocket book. It has; raised premiums, increased out-of- pocket costs, limited access for those who have been forced to use the exchanges and has changed healthcare for those who already were covered. I’ve talked about how Obamacare has impacted older Americans by; cutting Medicare Advantage, increasing co-pays and co-insurance and limiting access to doctors and prescriptions. What I haven’t talked directly about is the impact Obamacare has made on the way we are governed by those we have elected.
President Obama used his foray into healthcare reform to unveil his new way of governing. This incursion featured a power grab by the executive branch which has threatened to permanently alter the way are government works. Let me give you some examples:
- IPAB – The creation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board was a direct circumnavigation of both the legislative branch and judicial branches of government. They could dictate rates that could only be challenged by a super majority of congress, unprecedented in any prior legislation, and was shielded from any intervention from the judicial branch.
- The Mandate – Obamacare mandated that we buy insurance and turned the IRS into a police agency. The supreme court narrowly approved this approach but I think it is the beginning of a slippery slope that will open the path for more losses of our personal rights. I think it is a big part of Obamacare’s continuing negative approval rating.
- Agency Power – Obamacare left many of the details of the law to the discretion of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other civilian agencies. There was so much latitude that some Republicans indicated that, if they won the White house and controlled Congress, they wouldn’t need to repeal Obamacare, just work through their appointed Secretary of HHS to change the regulations and set up a healthcare system that worked the way they wanted it to work. This isn’t the way laws, voted into existence by Congress, are supposed to work. They are supposed to direct both what and how the law is to be implemented. For instance, the long term care portion of Obamacare, called the CLASS act, was summarily dropped by the secretary of HHS. Now let there be no mistake, RetireSafe did NOT like the CLASS act, we thought it was the wrong way to deal with this issue and was fiscally unsupportable, but it was part of the law. The Secretary of HHS should not have the power to pick and choose which part of a law he/she can implement. Congress should have been the ones to amend the law and abolish this unworkable approach.
- Other Areas of Usurped Power – Obamacare involved itself in other areas where it had no right. It created a new pathway for the approval of biosimilars. This is an area that was under the jurisdiction of the FDA, any change to the way it does business should have been done under the purview of Congress and the stakeholders, not as dictated by Obamacare. The use of the IRS as a collector of fines is another instance of altering an agencies basic job by edict. It’s just not the way we should be doing business.
The President continues to expand on this new way of governing through the use of executive order. Whether it is changing immigration laws, deciding how birth control support should be provided, to dictating how oversea accounts should be controlled . . . he sees no reason to work through the normal paths of governing.
Obamacare exposed a dangerous use of executive power and it may turn out to be one of the worst things to come out of this failed attempt at healthcare reform. The failure of our Congress and our Supreme Court to limit this power is frightening. The checks and balances between the three branches of our Government is one of the basic tenets of our constitution. This misuse of power by the current President threatens this critical balance. The selection of Supreme Court Judges and members of Congress are important to restoring this critical balance to our Government. It is incumbent on each one of us to get involved in electing those who would respect and restore this basic balance.
Thair Phillips – President