11 State AGs Say Obama Breaks Law With Healthcare Changes

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Thursday, 02 Jan 2014 03:20 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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Eleven GOP state attorneys general charge that the Obama administration is breaking the law by sidestepping Congress to change the healthcare law, The Hill reports.

In particular, the Republican attorneys general claim the president’s executive action that allows health insurance companies to keep offering insurance plans that have been canceled for not meeting Obamacare rules is "flatly illegal under federal constitutional and statutory law."

"We support allowing citizens to keep their health insurance coverage, but the only way to fix this problem-ridden law is to enact changes lawfully: through Congressional action," the attorneys general wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "The illegal actions by this administration must stop."

HHS did not respond to a request for comment.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey wrote the letter, which was co-signed by his peers in Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia.

Another change in the Affordable Health Care Act law by the executive office included the decision to delay the employer insurance mandate for a year, which many lawmakers said should have required a congressional vote.

That change, the attorneys general insist, defies a Supreme Court decision in the 1985 case of Heckler v. Chaney case, in which the court concluded that some enforcement of laws might be subject to judicial review first.

That case had to do with lethal injection. Lawyers for two condemned killers argued the Food and Drug Administration had not certified that the lethal drugs were "safe and effective" for human executions, and should be barred. At issue was whether the FDA had jurisdiction to undertake the enforcement actions requested and, if it did have jurisdiction, whether its refusal to take those actions was subject to judicial review.

Obama has come under blistering fire after millions of people found out their plans were no longer being offered despite his repeated assurance that, under Obamacare, people would be able to keep their insurance plans if they liked them.

The attorneys general argue the Obama action violates precedents set by the Supreme Court.

The AGs' letter also focused on security concerns on the state and federal health insurance exchanges.

HHS continues to "ignore the widespread public outcry over the security of consumers' private information on exchanges," they wrote.

They added that they’re concerned about the administration's decision to "not propose and implement rigorous privacy standards for outreach personnel."

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