Ever since it was revealed that millions were going to lose their health insurance plans that did not meet the standards laid out in the Affordable Care Act, everyone involved has wanted to “fix” that problem immediately (if only to get the news media to stop discussing it).
The President offered his solution: announcing that plans could be extended for the year and the administration would use enforcement discretion to allow the plans to continue. However, for many in Congress (on both sides of the aisle) that solution didn’t go far enough. Thus, the House of Representatives passed legislation—taking away the discretionary part of the White House plan—that would allow the cancelled plans to continue and allow new plans to be sold as well.
Yet, despite the House bill—which may not pass the Senate and, if it does, would be vetoed by the President—Michele Bachmann, Republican representative from Minnesota, wants to sue the President for his “unconstitutional” actions. Her potential suit would claim that by offering his own fix to the program, the President violated separation of powers since any fix should have originated in Congress. Still, there has been no attempt to file a suit and Bachmann’s office has told a number of sources that they are merely discussing the possibility of a lawsuit.
The White House, of course, believes this is all nonsense. A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services told The Washington Post that a 1985 Supreme Court decision in favor of the Food and Drug Administration made clear that “agencies charged with administering statutes have inherent authority to exercise discretion to ensure [they] are enforced” in such a way that doesn’t serve to undermine the big-picture goal of a statute. Thus, any lawsuit filed against the President would be doomed to fail, however given the continued problems with Obamacare that surely comes as little consolation.