J. D. Heyes
August 12, 2013
Opponents of Obamacare have not given up trying to derail the law despite a June 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling which upheld much of it, including the so-called “individual mandate” to purchase health insurance. In fact one of those opponents is seriously considering taking the government back to court.
“A small organization took on the entire weight of the federal government and was able to prevail,” said David Bossie, head of Citizens United, referring to his organization’s successful Supreme Court battle to overturn a law banning corporations from contributing to political campaigns. In an interview with the Yahoo! Daily Ticker, he said President Obama’s signature piece of legislation was similar and that he expects to see “many more lawsuits” challenging the so-called Affordable Care Act.
Bossie was asked if his organization was planning a lawsuit. “We absolutely would if we felt there was an opportunity and that we had standing. We’re studying it,” he answered.
Obama’s move just a political ploy
Bossie’s potential suit is not just sour grapes. In fact, the president himself, as the Daily Ticker notes, may actually have opened the door to legal challenges himself when he unilaterally announced the one-year delay a few weeks ago of a provision of the law requiring employers with 50 or more full-time employees to purchase health insurance for them – or face penalties (which Obamacare is full of, by the way). That provision was set to kick in Jan. 1, 2014; now it has been pushed back to 2015.
The White House spin at the time was that the president was “listening to employers” who said the provision will cause them to a) reduce number of full-time employees they had on staff (as in fire them or lay them off); b) cut the hours of full-time staff to part-time; or c) halt any expansion efforts which would have created a need for more employees.
But the midterm elections take place in November 2014, so the president’s decision is most likely political; he doesn’t want fellow Democrats – many of whom voted for the law – to have to defend its consequences to constituent business owners.
Opponents of the law say that decision, however, is too one-sided; they say it should also apply to individuals.
“Is it fair for the president to give American businesses an exemption from the health law’s mandates without giving the same break to individuals and families across the country?” asked House Speaker John Boehner at a press conference recently. “Hell no, it isn’t.” Boehner said he plans to hold a vote in the coming days in the House to delay both the employer and individual mandates.
Bossie is in the camp criticizing the president’s unilateral decision regarding the employer mandate.
“If businesses need one year to figure this out, so do the rest of the American people,” he told Yahoo!. “He kind of arbitrarily just determines what rules he wants to follow and which laws he doesn’t.”
Other political battles are being planned against Obamacare. For instance, GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has said he won’t support raising the federal government’s spending debt limit, which is coming this fall, unless that bill strips funding for Obamacare. Also, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has already introduced legislation to defend the law, while U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., has introduced a similar measure in the House.
Before Obama announced he was delaying the employer mandate – an order that, in and of itself, has been called illegal by some analysts – some employers filed suit against the government over a provision of the law they contend was rewritten by the IRS in violation of the spirit of the statute.
The IRS + Obamacare = Bad Results
According to the complaint:
The Affordable Care Act authorizes health insurance subsidies to qualifying individuals in states that created their own healthcare exchanges. Those subsidies trigger the employer mandate (a $2,000/employee penalty) and expose more people to the individual mandate.
But last spring, without authorization from Congress, the IRS vastly expanded those subsidies to cover states that refused to set up such exchanges.
Under the Act, businesses in these nonparticipating states should be free of the employer mandate, and the scope of the individual mandate should be reduced as well. But because of the IRS rule, both mandates will be greatly enlarged in scope, depriving states of the power to protect their residents.
“Because of Obamacare I’ve already been forced to cut my ‘hourly’ employees’ hours from 40 down to 28 so I can keep running my business and keep my employees on the payroll,” J. Allen Tharp, CEO of Olde England’s Lion and Rose – and a plaintiff in the suit – told TheBlaze.com.
“The IRS rule we are challenging is at war with the Act’s plain language and completely rewrites the deal that Congress made with the states on running these insurance exchanges,” added Michael Carvin, a partner at Jones Day who is representing the plaintiffs.
This article was posted: Monday, August 12, 2013 at 11:01 am