In spite of Trump’s campaign promise that his administration would seek “prompt repeal” of ObamaCare, it may be impossible “to undo any, much less all of President Obama’s unconstitutional executive actions in one day,” writes Michael F. Cannon, Cato Institute’s director of health policy studies.
Fortunately, Michael has a laundry list of how “Trump-administration officials can restore the Constitution’s limits on executive power, provide relief to Americans suffering under Obamacare, and hasten repeal.”
- End Congress’s illegal Obamacare exemption.
Obama ignored the law and made illegal payments to private insurance companies on behalf of members of Congress and their staff for six years — all to prevent Congress from reopening the law.
- End Obamacare’s unconstitutional cost-sharing subsidies.
In House v. Burwell, a federal judge ruled that the Obama administration “violate[d] the Constitution” by paying billions of dollars in “cost-sharing” subsidies to private insurance companies without a congressional appropriation.Trump should … stop the unconstitutional payments, and prevent insurers from canceling Obamacare plans until 2018.
- End Obamacare’s illegal “reinsurance” payments.
The Government Accountability Office found that the Obama administration illegally diverted additional billions of dollars in “reinsurance” payments from the Treasury to private insurance companies.Trump should immediately stop the diversion of those funds and demand that insurers repay the more than $3 billion in unlawful payments they have received.
- Block Big Insurance’s “risk-corridor” raid on the Treasury.
The Obama administration tried to circumvent a statutory cap on “risk-corridor” payments to private insurance companies by offering to settle lawsuits filed by the insurers.Trump should immediately announce that his administration will not settle but will instead vigorously defend taxpayers’ interests in all such lawsuits.
- Investigate the Obama administration’s illegal spending.
Federal law provides penalties for officials who spend taxpayer funds without authorization from Congress.Trump should direct the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section to determine whether the officials who implemented the above policies violated the Anti-Deficiency Act, the False Statements Act, the False Claims Act, or other federal laws.
- Allow freedom of conscience and choice in contraceptives coverage.
The Obama administration expanded the definition of “preventive care” services for which all must purchase insurance coverage to include forms of contraception that violate the consciences and religious practices of many Americans.Trump should eliminate all requirements that consumers purchase preventive-care coverage that are not explicitly specified in statute.
- Illustrate how Americans can avoid Obamacare penalties.
There are many ways that taxpayers who choose not to purchase Obamacare’s overpriced insurance can avoid paying a penalty. If they adjust their withholding so they owe money to the IRS at tax time, for example, all the IRS can do is send them nasty letters.Trump should direct the IRS and the Department of Health and Human Services to publish “how to” guides that explain, with specifics, how taxpayers and employers may lawfully avoid paying Obamacare penalties.
- Illustrate how Obamacare makes it easier than ever for people to wait until they are sick to purchase coverage.
Before Obamacare, insurers charged higher premiums to people who waited until they were sick to purchase coverage. This practice encouraged people to buy insurance while healthy, so their premium dollars would help defray medical bills for others who were in need. Obamacare eliminated this practice, making it easier than ever for people to wait until they are sick to purchase coverage. (Even Nobel Prize–winning economist and Obamacare supporter Paul Krugman agrees.)
- Publish Obamacare’s vital signs.
The Obama administration notoriously guarded and sidestepped bad news about Obamacare. The Trump administration should shine a light on both Obamacare and the Obama administration’s conduct.
- Release the documents.
The Obama administration shrouded its implementation of Obamacarein secrecy.Trump should release all unpublished reports, cost estimates, evaluations, and legal memoranda regarding the ACA left by the Obama administration, including: any cost estimates on the affordability of health insurance and the number of uninsured before, during, and after the ACA; any materials bearing on the administrative decisions challenged in King v. Burwell and House v. Burwell; other unlawful activities mentioned above; the delay of the employer mandate; and the Obama administration’s decisions not to enforce parts of Obamacare, including various regulations.
- Praise states that refused to implement Obamacare.
Two-thirds of the states refused to implement an Obamacare exchange. Nineteen refused to implement Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. These states did the right thing under a withering assault from Big Insurance, Big Pharma, and other special interests that wanted the subsidies — legal and illegal — that the Obama administration had promised them.Trump should praise the states that recognized Obamacare as an unworkable and temporary program and direct the Office of Management and Budget to quantify how much those states have saved taxpayers and reduced federal deficits to date, and project how much they will continue to do so over the next decade.
- Direct states to prepare for Obamacare repeal.
When Congress repeals Obamacare, states will have to change their laws.Trump should emphasize, as he did in his executive order, that states should create “a free and open market in interstate commerce for the offering of health-care services and health insurance.”
- Renounce IPAB.
Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board is an unconstitutional super-legislature with the power to make laws — including the power to impose taxes — without political or judicial accountability.Trump should affirm that his oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution forbids him to use the powers that Obamacare purports to invest in IPAB.
- Let seniors opt out of Medicare without losing Social Security benefits.
The Social Security Administration, without any authorization from Congress, decreed that Medicare-eligible individuals must enroll in the program or forfeit all Social Security benefits, past and future. The rule antedates the Obama administration, though the administration defended it in court.This rule lacks any legal authority. Trump should direct HHS and the Social Security Administration to rescind it, which would save taxpayers money by freeing more seniors to opt out of Medicare.
Michael’s final point in his article published at National Review is that President Trump has a tremendous opportunity to make history. “Returning the executive branch to its proper role under the Constitution will also spur Congress to enact reforms that make health care better, more affordable, and more secure.”