First shot in a successful Constitutional war against ObamaCare?
We can only hope so … but then, one should remember that John Roberts sold his soul and his intellectual reputation to make payment for it into a tax. So we shall see. But some heartening news today if you’re someone who believes those in government should be held to the Constitution’s restrictions on government.
In a major ruling, Judge Rosemary Collyer, an appointee of President George W. Bush, said the administration does not have the power to spend money on “cost sharing reduction payments” to insurers without an appropriation from Congress.
Collyer’s decision doesn’t immediately go into effect, however, so that the administration can appeal it.“This is an historic win for the Constitution and the American people,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement. “The court ruled that the administration overreached by spending taxpayer money without approval from the people’s representatives.”At issue are billions of dollars paid to insurance companies participating in ObamaCare so they can reduce customers’ out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles for low-income people.
The House GOP argued that the administration was unconstitutionally spending money on these payments without Congress’s approval.
Of course that’s an almost daily occurrence for the past few decades. The lines have blurred and no one is held accountable. Oversight? What a joke.
How far this will go and whether the decision will be upheld is a mystery at this point, but not much of one … see again the first sentence.
The administration, of course, had an answer:
But the administration said it did not need an appropriation from Congress because the funds were already guaranteed by the healthcare reform law in the same section as its better-known tax credits that help people pay for coverage.
Yup, the executive needs no permission to spend your money anymore, just as he or she no longer needs permission to wage war. Blurred lines becoming even blurrier. Separation of powers? Get real.
Imperial presidency? For quite a while. The Judge, though, wasn’t buying the explanation:
Collyer ruled that the section only appropriated funds for tax credits and said the cost sharing reductions require a separate congressional appropriation, which the administration does not currently have.
“Such an appropriation cannot be inferred,” Collyer wrote. “None of Secretaries’ extra-textual arguments — whether based on economics, ‘unintended’ results, or legislative history — is persuasive. The Court will enter judgment in favor of the House of Representatives and enjoin the use of unappropriated monies to fund reimbursements due to insurers under Section 1402.”
Good for her. It won’t dismantle the dreadful system, but it does take another chink out of its funding. It’s a start. But whether the start will later faulter and fail to be upheld is still to be seen. In today’s world, unfortunately, the likelihood of that sort of a failure is much more prevalent than had this ruling come down 40 or 50 years ago when most people still believed in a much more limited government constrained by the Constitution.
Brave new world … one that promises to be much like the old and oppressive world if some have their way.