Legislation should begin in the legislature: why separation of powers matters

When Obama declared that insurers may continue to offer the same plans that they had offered last year (i.e. a pseudo-executive order stating that a particular key provision of an act will not be enforced by the Executive branch), there was a lot of snark about Obama as a grand King, not one branch of government. Nothing against snark, especially when it comes from Mark Steyn, nor against an analysis of the constitutionality (or lack thereof) of this “fix”, but there is a reason why legislation ought to originate in the legislature and not via executive fiat: nuance.

Insurance companies rightly state that compliance with this law is an absolute disaster – if they are even able to manage it. This is not divorced from the fact that these rules are coming from an unconstitutional executive fiat; rather, the problems are part and parcel of coming from sounds-good magic wand waving, not carefully considered legislation.

Had the Congress considered such a rule (and it is, in the Upton and Landrieu bills), it would have subcommittee hearings in which insurance companies would rationally discuss the difficulties in implementing such a law on short notice, the regulations that are simply not possible to comply with, and the costs of undoing this particular provision. They can also discuss how it will affect the rest of the insurance market and how to get insurance to those who already lost it.  However, when ‘laws’ are made by executive fiat, there is no blueprint for implementing them, input from industry as to costs and feasibility, and potential hazards.

“But Bridget, you don’t know the specific challenges that insurance companies might face and whether they are just using this as an excuse to dump sick people!” you say. But guess what? Obama doesn’t know the full ramifications of this either. I’m just a blogger; he’s the Executive, Legislature, and Judicial branch, all rolled into one incompetent mess.  It was said about Socrates that he was the wisest man in the world, for he knew what he did not know. By that standard, Obama is a dumbass: by all appearances, it never crosses his mind that there are many things – important things – that he does not know and needs to know.

Part of the legislative process is to find out what you don’t know and could not have known.  It’s not just that Obama usurped this function; he did away with it entirely.

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Filed under Economics, Law, ObamaCare

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