Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Non-Mandates


For John, BLUFSmall businesses and individuals are in trouble, long term.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Over at The Wall Street Journal is an article on the Department of Health and Human Services stealthily pushing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act "mandate" out beyond elections.  Actually, this has to be pretty subtle to work without being widely publicized, or maybe they are counting on the fact that folks didn't really know there was a mandate in the first place.  The lede:
ObamaCare's implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care Act—the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty.
So there is the troubling thing.  Not that politics is being played—it is DC.  It is that it is all buried in the bureaucratic paper that drives the regulatory process.  This is the kind of thing that destroys free enterprise.  Favored patrons profit and the economy moves forward, but the dynamism that is inherent in our economy is squeezed out by layers of rules and regulations.

Put another way, when the original Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was two thousand pages long, even if it was double spaced, you knew that the rest of us were not going to read it, let along understand it.  We may not all agree on the meaning of each of the First Ten Amendments, but a lot of us can at least have an opinion.  Even though it is over 200 years old, the words seem fairly plain (well, except for the Second).  But, the PP&ACA required hundreds of additional pages of implementing regulations and they are still being issued.

We need to face the fact that the Congress, the co-equal Legislative Branch, has surrendered much of legislating to the Executive Branch and its bureaucrats.  It isn't that these bureaucrats are bad people—they included at some point my Father, my Uncle Dick, my two Brothers.  It is that we have changed how the Federal Government works.  I wonder if Professor George Anthes teaches it the old fashioned way, the way where the laws are passed by the our Congress Members, and approved by the President or a Congressional Super Majority and then implemented by Executive Branch, with the Judicial Branch making sure it is all kosher?

Equally interesting to me, when the issued regulations begin to conflict with the original law, as this labyrinth naturally evolves, which will the Courts favor, the original law or the needed implementing regulations?  You can't have the law implemented without the implementing regulations.  It won't be Representative Niki Tsongas explaining to some Deputy Assistant Secretary of HHS that this part of the Law suggests this, which requires that we do "C", "D" and "E".  This bureaucrat could be one of my children or nieces or nephews or a cousin of yours.  They are not trying to evil.  He or she is just trying to make it work.

The article takes a different view.  It ends:

The larger point is that there have been so many unilateral executive waivers and delays that ObamaCare must be unrecognizable to its drafters, to the extent they ever knew what the law contained.
For me, that misses the point that we are drifting toward a European Union like Government, a European like Government, where the scientific experts rule and the People do as they are told.

And just to add to that view, here is an item my wife just forwarded to me as I typed the previous paragraph.  It is about Immigration Reform, but the principal holds.

Think a three legged stool.  Now think one of the legs getting longer.

Regards  —  Cliff

2 comments:

Mr. Lynne said...

"Congress, the co-equal Legislative Branch, has surrendered much of legislating to the Executive Branch and its bureaucrats. "

I'd straight-up disagree with this. Especially in the case of the ACA. Obama made it a creature of the legislature because that's the only way he could do it. In ceding control (while driving momentum, granted), he ended up giving a ridiculous number of stopping points to the process in the endless subcommittee compromises that individuals insisted on, regardless of how the general body felt in aggregate and especially regardless of how the executive felt. It was sausage making in the worst sense. If the executive had actual power in law-making the product would be decidedly different than what we got. When a party is united and controls both the branches and controls its internal dissenters, perhaps stuff can happen at the behest of the executive, but in such cases it must really be understood that it's more the wish of the party than the executive (even if the party essentially cedes to the wishes of the executive since the executive gets de facto leader status in the party.)

The ceding from the legislature is really on national security and war powers and it's a very old fact now.

C R Krieger said...

What I have been reading suggests that the Administration has been playing high, wide, and handsome within the PP&ACA, and some times outside it.

Now the President and his Political Appointees are widening their reach for writing Federal Rules in response to not getting the Federal Laws they desire.

And Senator Dianne Feinstein's fight with the CIA says there are larger issues.  And I am with DiFi on this one, Jon Stewart notwithstanding.

Regards  —  Cliff