Megan McArdle & Richard Epstein-Obamacare, The Executive, & The Power Of The Purse

Epstein’s ‘The Perils Of Executive Power:’

‘Congress challenged the decision of Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services, to reimburse insurance companies any losses that they sustained under Section 1402 of the Affordable Care Act after they waived deductibles and co-pays, as well as provided other benefits to individuals as an inducement to get them to enroll in health care plans covered by the ACA. The ACA scheme gave general authorization to create this subsidy program, but subsequent to the passage of the ACA, Congress had not authorized the particular payments under this program.’

The strategy makes some sense: Pay special attention (perhaps more than most politicians) to image-control, rhetoric, social media ‘cool,’ as well the press and popular sentiment in order to amplify your message and successfully campaign (write an autobiography or two before age forty to get the message out).

Encourage and reward activist concerns while harnessing progressive populism in order to become President, while also maintaining a cool distance. Facts and the law, regrettably, can play second fiddle to riled-up emotions, but such are the wages of activism. The overall moral good is served, and you generally possess enough knowledge indicating which way history ought to go.  Black folks are included in deeper levels of moral concern than they ever were before, and not subject to the same levels of overt racism and discrimination.

Play to the broader middle (the suburbs and the faculty lounges) while letting the base do the dirty work (such is politics for all politicians, but the people who want your kind of change will pitch-in: Those who see racism, sexism, bigotry, class warfare and social injustice everywhere, in addition to climate catastrophe, undeserving rich and a fixed economic pie in need of redistribution).

Should that power and legal authority be crafted into laws and policy poorly designed, or form the views of a non-plurality, or become politically unpopular, or unworkable, well, then leverage executive actions and authority for as long as you possibly can.

Or at least until you leave office and likely loudly and vocally in your political afterlife (your cause is just).

Megan McArdle at Bloomberg: ‘Obamacare, Executive Power And the Rule Of Law:’

‘A few weeks back, I noted that a judge had ruled against the Obama administration in a dispute over health-insurance subsidies. Some background: Obamacare makes insurers reduce out of pocket costs, like deductibles, to low-income people who purchase qualifying plans; the government is supposed to reimburse the companies directly. However, Congress didn’t appropriate any money to pay for these subsidies. When the administration went ahead and paid the insurers anyway — distributing about $7 billion without congressional approval — House lawmakers sued.’

As for the rest of us…it seems we’re stuck with more partisanship and executive over-reach than ever, and a pretty badly-designed law.

Here we are.

Still Looking For Alternatives-Charlie Martin At PJ Media: ‘Obamacare vs. Arithmetic’

Avik Roy At Forbes: ‘Democrats’ New Argument: It’s A Good Thing That Obamacare Doubles Individual Health Insurance Premiums’Megan McArdle At Bloomberg: ‘Health-Care Costs Are Driven By Technology, Not Presidents’

Related On This Site:    From The New England Journal Of Medicine Via CATO: ‘The Constitutionality of the Individual Mandate’From If-Then Knots: Health Care Is Not A Right…But Then Neither Is Property?… From The New Yorker: Atul Gawande On Health Care-”The Cost Conundrum”Sally Pipes At Forbes: ‘A Plan That Leads Health Care To Nowhere’Peter Suderman At The WSJ: ‘Obamacare And The Medicaid Mess’From AEI: ‘Study: ‘Obama Healthcare Reform Raising Costs, Forcing Workers Out Of Existing Plans’