Rex Lex: Health Care Provision Delayed Again

Posted on February 11, 2014 by

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Objects collection: StethoscopeThis fruit hangs so low you can pick it with your feet. Pardon me while I take off my shoes.

The Obama Administration has delayed, once again, the employer mandate for ObamaCare. Under the law’s original provision, companies with between 50 and 99 employees were required to provide coverage for workers or face a fine as of 2014. Last year the requirement was delayed until 2015, and as of now, the requirement will not kick in until 2016. This is the latest of several significant delays surrounding the law’s troubled rollout. For the White House, this throws water on one of the potential political powder-kegs of the upcoming congressional elections, and it shows a sensitivity to increased business pressures.

There is a basic principle of governance we largely take for granted. Our constitutional republic is premised on the notion of Lex Rex–Law is King. When the law is king, we are all subject to it and the processes and procedures it defines. The Affordable Care Act defined and dictated these deadlines when it was first passed in 2010. Under our form of government, these kinds of concrete changes to the law ought to require congressional action and not simply executive decisions. This is not a matter of bureaucratic interpretation or rule-making, but a matter of the law’s explicit provision. President Obama, and his minions, do not require something so prosaic as another branch of government. While I will not pretend that delaying the employer mandate is a substantive evil–in fact, I hope it is eventually abolished, but I will take a temporary delay for now–we must be concerned with both means and ends. The means of the delay is counter to a constitutional republic such as ours. If President Obama does not like the law, he will just change it to suit his needs. In America, at least on the issue of health care, the King is Law, or Rex Lex.

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