Jonathan Turley: Obama Acting Without Congress To Aid Insurance Companies

The media and the press would rather get President Obama’s opinion on pressing issues like Donald Sterling and Michael Sam than they are about the President’s repeating flaunting of his own signature legislation. Law professor Jonathan Turley has been paying attention and he’s written something up about the President’s plan to help “bail out” insurance companies so they will keep rates low:

I recently testified (here and here and here) and wrote a column on President Obama’s increasing circumvention of Congress in negating or suspending U.S. laws. Obama has repeated suspended provisions of the health care law and made unilateral changes that were previously rejected by Congress. He has also moved hundreds of millions from one part of the Act to other parts without congressional approval. Now, his administration is reportedly changing key provisions of the ACA to potentially make billions of dollars available to the insurance industry in a move that was never debated, let alone approved, by the legislative branch. Ironically, I just ran another column this month listing such incidents of executive over-reach that ideally would have included this potentially huge commitment under Obama’s claimed discretionary authority.

The new regulations have been called a “bailout” of insurance companies providing coverage under the healthcare law. The changes would allow companies to get the money if they control increases in their rates — for a couple of years. That just happens to put increases on the other side of the elections.

The Administration insists that it is hopeful that no bailout is needed but “we want to be clear that in the highly unlikely event of a shortfall, HHS will use appropriations as available to fill it.” That is all fine and good except for the fact that it puts billions to a use not approved by Congress. Even with over 8 million people registered, the ACA is not attracting the younger citizens who are needed to bear the brunt of the new costs by paying in significantly more than they will be taking out of the system. As a result, companies are moving to increase rates even further at a time when roughly half of Americans want the ACA repealed and Democrats are fearing significant losses in the next election. Moreover, as rates increases, more consumers are likely to bolt from the already unpopular program — risking a cascading failure.

He goes on to say the following:

Of course, insurance companies and lobbyists applauded the move but it is not the purpose but the means that remains problematic. I view this as another end-run around Congress in violation of the Separation of Powers. As I said many months ago, we are seeing the emergence of an uber-presidency that is fundamentally changing our system of government. Liberals and Democrats will rue the day that they supported such a destabilizing and dangerous aggregation of power in the Executive Branch.

Emphasis is mine.

Turley is no rabid right-winger. He was one of the Bush administration’s biggest critics as it related to his anti-terrorism policies. This is serious business and yet the press will report this information as if it is just basic news….not what appears to be a constitutional crisis in the making.