Banana republic stuff

I started this series of posts on the regulations promulgated under Obamacare as “Adventures in administrative law.” I recently resumed and rechristened it “Banana republic stuff,” courtesy of Charles Krauthammer.

Last month’s installment of banana republic stuff came courtesy of the Treasury/IRS statement announcing regulations that delayed the Obamacare requirement for some employers — those with between 50 and 99 full time workers — and modified it for larger employers. Here is the text of the press release; here is the Treasury fact sheet; here is the final regulation (227 pages). John Hinderaker commented here.

Today the Obama administration announced a delay in the implementation of the requirement that health insurance policies comply with the Obamacare requirements that were already to have gone into effect. Now insurers can renew noncompliant policies until October 2016 (assuming, I take it, that state authorities agree).

October 2016– it’s a resonant date. It wasn’t exactly plucked from thin air, but it lacks — how to put it? — statutory authority.

The powers-that-be in the Obama administration add with a straight face that the pronouncements issued today were “developed in close consultation with members of Congress, including but not limited to Senators Mark Warner, Mary Landrieu, Jeanne Shaheen, Mark Udall and Representatives Tim Bishop, Elizabeth Esty, Carol Shea-Porter, Gary Peters, Scott Peters, Ann Kuster, Kyrsten Sinema, Ann Kirkpatrick, and Ron Barber….”

What do these members of Congress have in common? Does their “consultation” with the powers-that-be lend a tint of legality to the otherwise lawless pronouncements? How does that work?

The powers-that be in the Obama administration add without any intended irony that today’s pronouncements “provide flexibility to states and provide consumers with choices so they can decide what is best for themselves and their families.”

One more question. Shouldn’t the administration’s congressional consultants have thought of that before they voted for the damn contraption?

Once upon a time, not so long ago, administrative agencies were vested only with the authority to interpret the laws they enforced. To simplify just a little bit, unless the authority was delegated to them, agencies lacked the power to write the laws. They certainly lacked the power simply to rewrite them.

As the famous American whose birthday we celebrated last month once said, “If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.”

In the blizzard of Obamacare pronouncements and regulations issued to date, we are tending toward rule by decree. We are tending toward banana republic city (video below).

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