ObamaCare Clusterfuck: NEJM: ObamaCare delays "appear to exceed the traditional scope of the President's enforcement discretion"
Shorter: They're illegal.* The New England Journal of Medicine, the gold standard:
The Legality of Delaying Key Elements of the ACA
In the administration's view, the delays are a routine exercise of the executive branch's traditional discretion to choose when and how to enforce the law. As the Supreme Court noted in its 1985 decision in Heckler v. Chaney, 1 an executive agency “generally cannot act against each technical violation of the statute it is charged with enforcing.”
For several reasons, however, the recent delays of ACA provisions appear to exceed the scope of the executive's traditional enforcement discretion. To begin with, the delays are not “discretionary judgment[s] concerning the allocation of enforcement resources” that, per Heckler, are at the core of the executive branch's power to decline to enforce laws. Instead, they reflect the administration's policy-based anxiety over the pace at which the ACA was supposed to go into effect. The mandate delays, for example, were designed to “give employers more time to comply with the new rules.” Similarly, the postponement of the insurance requirements aims to honor the President's promise that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it.”
To sharpen the point: even if the administration lacked the capacity or desire to take action against those who failed to comply with the ACA, it could have remained silent about its enforcement plans. Most employers and insurers would still have felt obliged to adhere to the law. Because the administration wanted to relieve them of an unwanted burden, however, it publicly committed itself to nonenforcement, thereby licensing employers and insurers to disregard the ACA's terms.
Encouraging a large portion of the regulated population to violate a statute in the service of broader policy goals — however salutary those goals may be — probably exceeds the limits of the executive's enforcement discretion. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has said that “an agency's pronouncement of a broad policy against enforcement poses special risks that it has consciously and expressly adopted a general policy that is so extreme as to amount to an abdication of its statutory responsibilities.” The ACA delays appear to be just such broad — and worrisome — policies.
The administration's legal claim is strongest in defending the employer-mandate delays. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has an established practice, stretching back at least three presidential administrations, of affording “transition relief” to taxpayers who might otherwise struggle to comply with a change in the tax code.
Extensions of transition relief, however, have typically been brief — usually just a few months — and covered taxes of marginal importance that affected few taxpayers. In 2007, for example, the IRS gave tax preparers an extra 6 months to plan for enhanced statutory penalties that would apply if they improperly filled out tax returns. Such examples provide slim support for a sweeping exemption that will relieve thousands of employers from a substantial tax for as long as 2 years.
In short, the delays appear to exceed the traditional scope of the President's enforcement discretion. ...
Obama administration's claim of enforcement discretion, if accepted, would limit Congress's ability to specify when and under what circumstances its laws should take effect. That circumscription of legislative authority would mark a major shift of constitutional power away from Congress, which makes the laws, and toward the President, who is supposed to enforce them.
And executive power, once seized, is difficult to roll back.
Looks like the Obama administration is just as lawless with ObamaCare as it has been on surveillance and whacking American citizens without due process. The only difference is that ObamaCare isn't secret law; just obfustcated, not least by career "progressives," the Democratic nomenklatura, and our famously free press.
NOTE * Impeachment material, showing the kayfabe and deeply frivolous nature of Republican scandal-mongering. Their argument that the ObamaCare delays are illegal actually has merit, but instead we got and are still getting Benghazi! Fast & Furious!