GOP Lives to Fight another Delay
Most people have seen the movie Groundhog Day -- and now, thanks to ObamaCare, they're living it! Every morning, Americans are waking up to the same health care headlines: another day, another delay. For voters, who have watched this same scenario play out for three years like a bad rerun, the President's constitutional contempt is almost routine. Since 2011, it's been déjà lawlessness in an administration that's done more legislating than the House and Senate combined.
For the President, the avalanche of changes is only helping to desensitize Americans to the administration's tyrannical tendencies. The White House's latest announcement, that it will shelve a key part of the employer mandate for an extra year, is the latest in a long line of ObamaCare do-overs that never had the authorization of Congress. As far as the President is concerned, the law might as well have come with a giant eraser. Under the legislation passed by Congress, employers with 50 or more workers were required to offer administration-approved health insurance or pay a hefty penalty. Back in July, the White House pushed the start date for those fines back until New Year's Day 2015. Now, a handful of months later, the President is putting the brakes on the mandate for a second time -- punting on the penalties until January 1, 2016 for companies with 50-99 employees. Those with 100+ employees have a phased in mandate.
But, in an interesting twist, the government is telling small businesses that to qualify for the delay, they'll have to "certify" that they aren't letting workers go to fall under the 50-employee threshold -- above which, they would have to provide health care. Obviously, businesses are cutting hours and employees to get around the coverage requirements or the costs of avoiding them. But asking employers to "self-assure" is an audacious demand -- especially since the crisis of joblessness is a problem the law helped create! Frankly, it's none of the government's business how employers cope with the disaster of ObamaCare and countless other leftist policies. Marc Thiessen is just one of the baffled conservatives. "The government creates a false incentive to lay off workers and then punishes you on pain of perjury, a criminal offense, for doing what the incentive leads to you to do," he fumed. "I mean, it is just insane."
In the meantime, the Treasury Department says it wanted to postpone the fine (or "tax," as Chief Justice John Roberts is fond of calling it) to ease the transition for businesses. And while employers appreciate the cushion, taxpayers won't. As the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) pointed out last summer, the President's unilateral changes aren't just chaotic -- they're costly. The first time the administration kicked the can down the road on the employer mandate, CBO experts predicted it would add $12 billion to the law's price tag. Now, by tacking on another year, the country can expect an even bigger tab.
And while businesses are grateful for the reprieve, individual Americans are still waiting for theirs. In three years, the Galen Institute counts 35 significant changes to the ObamaCare law since 2011 -- 18 of which the President made without Congress's consent -- and none of which positively impacted families, individuals, or conscience rights. "Once again," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) pointed out the anti-family, anti-faith bent of this administration. "The President is giving a break to corporations while individuals and families are still stuck under the mandates of his health care law," Boehner said. "And, once again, the President is rewriting law on a whim. If the administration doesn't believe employers can manage the burden of the law, how can struggling families be expected to?"
It's time, said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), "to extend that exemption to families and individuals." Unfortunately for Americans, these changes are just the opening act. According to reports, the administration still has a pile of health care regulations to write, which is another of the White House's preferred forms of legislating. Americans respect the Constitution -- it's a shame their President doesn't.
With Planned Parenthood, You 'Choose,' You Lose
Money can do a lot of things, but it can't bring back Alvin Reaves's mom. In July of 2012, the 24-year-old's life tragically ended at the hands of Planned Parenthood of Illinois during a second-trimester abortion from which she would never recover. For five and a half hours, the staff at the local Planned Parenthood left Tonya Reaves to bleed from a perforated uterus, refusing to call 911. In the end, the clinic's stubbornness cost Tonya her life. By the time the ambulance transported Reaves to the local hospital, the mom of one-year-old Alvin had already lost too much blood. After her death, the Reaves' family filed a wrongful death suit against Planned Parenthood -- and won.
Late last month, the abortion giant -- and beneficiary of over $500 million taxpayer dollars a year-- agreed to pay part of a $2 million, avoiding a lengthy and potentially devastating trial. While liberals drone on about a "war on women," the real one is happening right under their noses. And the biggest villain, the abortion industry, continues to provide third-world "care" while fighting common sense clinic regulations that would have protected moms like Tonya. Planned Parenthood insists that what women want for Valentine's Day is "safe and legal abortions." If so, then they'd better look elsewhere.
** Join FRC tomorrow, February 12, at noon to learn more about how the patterns of love and rejection are distributed across the country in a policy lecture with our own Dr. Pat Fagan called "The Legacy of Love." To register to attend, either in person or online, click here.
*** In a little over a month, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear one of the most important religious liberty cases in U.S. history. Check out FRC's take in Travis Weber's new Townhall column, "The Green Family, the HHS Mandate, and Religious Freedom."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.