Republicans Wrongly Claim Obama Can't Legally 'Fix' Obamacare

| by Michael Allen

Many Republicans are upset by President Obama making a recent administrative “fix” to Obamacare to accommodate people who have been complaining about losing their sub-standard health insurance plans.

A couple of weeks ago, President Obama stated that people with a (sub-standard) health insurance plan that does not meet the requirements of Obamacare can keep their plan for a year while they shop for a policy that does meet the requirements of Obamacare.

Instead of thanking the president for making these accommodations, Republicans are making claims that Obama is violating the law.

According to The Weekly Standard, House Speaker John Boehner recently said, “I don’t see within the law how they can do this administratively. No one can identify anything the president could do administratively to keep his pledge that would be both legal and effective.”

“One of the clear separations of powers was that the legislature was supposed to legislate and the president wasn’t,” Sen. Ron Paul (R-Ky.) told Fox News. “He’s essentially amended Obamacare maybe 20- some-odd times, and I don’t think he’s allowed to. And so I think it needs to be decided in court.”

However, it has already been decided in court, back in 1985 in the case of Heckler v. Chaney in 1985, says the Obama administration.

The Department of Health and Human Services recently said in a statement to The Washington Post:

The Supreme Court held more than 25 years ago that agencies charged with administering statues have inherent authority to exercise discretion to ensure that their statutes are enforced in a manner that achieves statutory goals and are consistent with other administrative policies. Agencies may exercise this discretion in appropriate circumstances, including when implementing new or different regulatory regimes, and to ensure that transitional periods do not result in undue hardship.

“The ultimate conclusion of the Court was that when it comes to using the various tools an agency has, it has very broad discretion, including refraining from enforcement actions, if the agency thinks this it will achieve its statutory goals,” David Vladeck, an expert in administrative law at Georgetown Law School, told The Post.

“The president does have discretion not to take enforcement action when he believes it would frustrate the purpose of federal law,” added Vladeck.

Sources: The Washington Post, Fox News, The Weekly Standard