The extra-constitutional ObamaCare delay

There is no disagreement that the employer mandate is a disaster, even The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein agrees with that position. Klein even goes so far as to call for repeal of this provision.

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However, under the current 224 year old U.S. Constitution, the executive branch doesn’t get to just decide whether a law is going to be enforced or not, DOMA precedent aside. If this were the case, a president could just declare October and November of an election year a tax holiday. Or the president could just refuse to implement a law that is a direct order from Congress. Certainly a president who taught constitutional law should be aware of the limits to his power in the very document that creates the position of president in the first place.

Now that the door has been opened by this president to making changes to the law due to the deadlines set by Congress, Congress needs to get to work and agree to move the implementation of the entire law back three years. Three years would make certain that regulators are not so rushed in putting systems into place that Americans don’t die due to the U.S. healthcare system collapsing as a result of bureaucratic bungling.

I recognize that this doesn’t achieve the end that the Democrats and Obama want to accomplish: moving the portion of the law that is going to dramatically drive up healthcare costs for most Americans past the 2014 midterm elections.

And I recognize that this doesn’t allow Democrats to tout short-term healthcare “savings” through the health care co-ops while avoiding the uproar over the dramatically increased costs suffered by most Americans.

However, if this maneuver is anything but raw politics, Democrats should embrace a three-year delay in implementing the entire law to ensure the health and safety of the American public.

Reactions by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to such three-year delay legislation will reveal whether Obama’s latest extra-constitutional maneuver is legitimate or if it is nothing more than craven politics.

Somehow I think everyone already knows the answer to this question.

Manning (@rmanning957) is the vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government

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