The serial delays of Obamacare are coming so rapidly and for such obviously political reasons that the White House is barely even trying to mask its real mission of protecting vulnerable Democrats in the mid-term elections.
In announcing the latest postponement this week — this one allowing individuals to keep their existing health insurance policies through 2016 — the Obama administration carefully credited Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Udall of Colorado, Ron Barber of Arizona and 10 other vulnerable Democratic lawmakers.
All face tough reelection fights in the fall in races in which Obamacare is a key issue.
While it may be politically expedient, rewriting a law passed by Congress simply to avoid ballot box consequences is an outrageous abuse of executive power.
Officially, the administration explains the delay in requiring all policies to meet minimum coverage standards is designed to give consumers greater flexibility in their insurance choices — but just for an additional year.
It doesn’t say it will use the time to reconsider those mandates or to fix Obamacare’s many flaws, nor did it cite the need for more time to implement the law.
The clear intent is to spare Democrats from the outrage that will come when consumers are notified that they’re either losing their policies because they don’t meet the standards, or their premiums are soaring.
The president continues to defend Obamacare as a grand benefit for the nation.
But neither he nor his fellow Democrats are willing to make that case to voters.
Recall that the law was written to delay the steep premium hikes and policy cancellations until the fall of 2013, conveniently after Obama’s reelection campaign.
This latest delay will push the next round of disruptive changes until after the 2016 election.
Several lawsuits are challenging the delays.
Under the Constitution, the president must implement laws as written by Congress.
The implementation dates for Obamacare are specified in the law, and should not be changed without congressional approval.
No law should be reshaped for the sole purpose of benefiting a single political party.
When Republicans proposed delaying Obamacare during last year’s budget stand-off, Obama taunted them with derisive comments about ignoring reality.
Since then, he has delayed the law himself multiple times.
That’s a clear message that Obamacare is not ready for implementation in its current form.
The law will need to be reworked.
And yet the administration has ignored warnings from economists and employers that implementation will slow growth and kill jobs.
Instead of making substantive changes to avert those outcomes, Obama has opted to just delay the consequences until the Democrats responsible for passing the law in the first place are safely reelected.
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This article was written by the editorial board of The Detroit News.