In their haste to impose an historic affront to individual liberty, the authors of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) neglected to provide the federal bureaucracy with either the funding necessary to build ObamaCare exchanges within the various states OR the authority to award tax credits or impose penalties on the American public.
For when the ACA was written, it was foolishly believed by lawmakers that each of the 50 states would immediately take on the near-100 million dollar responsibility of completing an ObamaCare exchange within its borders—an exchange being the sales center without which no ObamaCare business may be transacted and no healthcare policies sold.
But today, a desperate Kathleen Sebelius and her Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have gone from depending on states to implement the Affordable Care Act to threatening those same states for dragging their feet and performing acts of outright rebellion against both the law and the Obama Regime itself.
And Sebelius’ fears are well founded, for the ACA makes it clear that only state-run exchanges may offer the tax credits that will make ObamaCare “affordable” to both individuals and businesses. And only state-run exchanges may impose penalties on business and fines on individuals for not obeying the letter of the law.
The long and the short of Sebelius’ problem is quite simple: no state-run exchanges, no ObamaCare! And as of today, some 30 states have refused to build an ObamaCare exchange, meaning the federal government will be forced to build 30 ObamaCare exchanges with no funding and impose fines and credits with no legal authority to do so.
Enter the Internal Revenue Service with a series of new rules intended to save the day and the Affordable Care Act. Of course, no one should really mind that the Department’s 73 page usurpation of congressional authority happens to be illegal.
For it seems the IRS decided to unilaterally re-make the Affordable Care Act by ignoring the wishes of lawmakers who wrote that only state-run exchanges may offer tax credits or impose penalties. According to the new IRS rules, federally-run exchanges will be permitted to do exactly the same things, even though that authority is NEVER mentioned in the law except as belonging to state-run exchanges!
As Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute and Case Western University Law Professor Jonathan Adler told the House Oversight Committee:
Contrary to the clear language of the statute and congressional intent, this [IRS] rule issues tax credits in health insurance “exchanges” established by the federal government. It thus triggers a $2,000-per-employee tax on employers and appropriates billions of dollars to private health insurance companies in states with a federal Exchange, also contrary to the clear language of the statute and congressional intent.
Already, lawsuits have been filed against the IRS for its clear misappropriation of congressional authority. And what will ObamaCare attorneys argue before the court? Perhaps something along the lines of: “Never mind what the law SAYS. Take our word for what we really MEANT it to say, especially now that things haven’t worked out the way we hoped.”
Should this obvious IRS attempt to overstep its authority be judged illegal, the Affordable Care Act will have to depend upon cowardly or corrupt Republican legislators and governors to save it from extinction.
Unfortunately, that’s not the longshot it should be.
Photo credit: terrellaftermath