Lawsuit Challenges Obamacare Employer Mandate Delay

Tuesday, 01 Oct 2013 03:10 PM

By Jennifer G. Hickey

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Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday challenging the Obama administration's decision to delay by one year Obamacare's requirement that employers must provide healthcare for their workers or pay a fine.

While Tuesday was the first day that the Affordable Care Act allowed access to the new healthcare exchanges, Judicial Watch's lawsuit on behalf of Florida dentist, Dr. Larry Kawa, is based on the fact that not all parts of the law are taking effect.

"The president has no more power than you or I do to change the law," said Kawa. "I am not here to dismantle the law. In fact, I am here to enforce the law."

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday morning in the Southern District of Florida against the U.S. Treasury, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, the Internal Revenue Service, and acting-IRS Director Danny Werfel, argues that the delay of the employer mandate "exceeded [the administration's] statutory authority, is arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law, and is otherwise unlawful."

Specifically, Judicial Watch maintains that the decision to delay the employer mandate for businesses with more than 50 employees violates the Administrative Procedure Act, which forbids "agency action" that exceeds statutory authority.

The administration exceeded this authority, the lawsuit claims, by deciding on July 2 to postpone the employer mandate for one year.

Judicial Watch is asking the court to declare the action unlawful and to issue an injunction prohibiting the delay.

"I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. It is time to end the practice of the government picking winners and losers, victors and victims," Kawa passionately declared.

Kawa told Newsmax he will continue to provide his employees with Blue Cross Insurance regardless of how the lawsuit proceeds and that he will abide by any additional requirements of Obamacare implementation.

According to the lawsuit, Kawa "expended substantial time and resources, including money spent on legal fees and other costs, in preparation for the 'employer mandate' taking effect on January 1, 2014" and that he "would not have expended resources and incurred these anticipatory costs in 2013" if he knew the mandate would take effect in 2015.

Kawa estimates that he has invested as much as $5,000 to date to ensure he was in compliance with the enforcement provisions of Obamacare.

"I am here asking the same question of the administration that [Iowa Democratic Sen.] Tom Harkin asked when the mandate was delayed: 'This was the law. How can they change the law?'"

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton says he is opposed to Obamacare, but respects the fact that it is the law and therefore should be enforced without political consideration.

"Under the Constitution, the law can only be changed by legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president. Politics do not trump the Constitution or the rule of law," said Fitton, who believes the healthcare law should be allowed to fail on its own merits. Paraphrasing Ulysses S. Grant, he said, "The best way to ensure the repeal of a bad law is to enforce it vigorously."

Ironically, the press conference in Washington was held in a room adjacent to an event promoting Obamacare held by the liberal Families USA.

The employer mandate is one of several aspects of the healthcare law being challenged in court. Between 67 and 77 legal challenges to the contraception mandate have been issued, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Related Stories:
'Glitches, Bumps' Predicted for Obamacare Exchanges Opening Day
Shutdown Glitches May Sour Young People On Obamacare

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