This is a new one in the legal fight over Obamacare.
A Florida company is actually suing to have the provisions of the Affordable Care Act enforced.
Since it was adopted by an all-Democrat vote in a lame-duck session of Congress and signed with much fanfare by Barack Obama, there have been hundreds of lawsuits opposing the law.
Schools, religious organizations, states and even nuns have sued – some successfully – to strike down certain requirements of the law, which requires everyone to have government-specified health insurance or pay a fine.
However, a client of the government watchdog group Judicial Watch, Kawa Orthodontics, has sued the IRS and others because Obama summarily delayed the enactment of the so-called “employer mandate.”
A district court judge ruled the business had no “standing” to sue, and the case now is being elevated to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
In the lawsuit, filed Oct. 1, 2013, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Judicial Watch argued the unilateral delay of the mandate from Jan. 1, 2014, to Jan. 1, 2015, violated the Administrative Procedure Act and was “arbitrary and capricious.”
The case alleges the delay caused Kawa Orthodontics to lose “the value of its substantial efforts” in preparation for the mandate to begin. The mandate requires certain employers to pay tax penalties if they do not offer “affordable, minimum essential” insurance coverage to workers, as defined by the Obama administration.
By law, the mandate was to take effect Jan. 1, 2014, but Obama postponed it without involving Congress, which wrote and adopted the law.
According to a Judicial Watch report on the dispute, the Obama administration “has now unilaterally rewritten the Obamacare law at least 16 times by executive fiat.”
“The changes include such major overhauls as the congressional opt-out, eviscerating the individual mandate, and delaying the employer mandate. The latest rewrite occurred on Dec. 20, 2013, when the administration allowed hundreds of thousands of people who had lost their insurance due to Obamacare to sign up for bare-bones ‘catastrophic’ plans that are expressly prohibited by the Obamacare law.”
The issue is whether the White House can change the law of the land through executive authority.
Judicial Watch has argued that the lawsuit “raises a single, straightforward legal question: does the executive branch have authority to ignore a clear, congressionally imposed deadline affecting hundreds of thousands of employers and millions of employees across the country on a matter of unquestionable importance?”
Judicial Watch said the answer is plainly no, arguing the administration’s delay of the mandate violates the Administrative Procedures Act.
“It exceeds defendants’ statutory jurisdiction, authority, and limitations, is contrary to constitutional right, power, or privilege, and is otherwise not in accordance with law,” Judicial Watch said.
Kawa estimates it could have generated some $1.2 million in new revenue had it not spent its time “determining how best to comply with the ‘employer mandate.’”
“Kawa Orthodontics continues its challenge to Obama’s rewrite of Obamacare because the court is so plainly wrong,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “If President Obama truly wants to fix Obamacare, he will have to go through Congress. He may ‘have a pen,’ but he ought to use it to sign a repeal of his law that had been passed by Congress.”
“With over 300 million people and 16 illegal changes there’s only been one lawsuit with one plaintiff that has been filed and continues to be adjudicated. The administration doesn’t want to defend its actions on the merits and is trying to prevent us from having our day in court,” stated Dr. Larry Kawa, owner of Kawa Orthodontics. “The administration presented no credible legal precedent for Obama’s delay of the employer mandate. This single lawsuit could do more to rein in Obama’s lawless actions than anything going in Congress right now. We expect the courts will ultimately rule in our favor and remind this president that he is not above the law.”
Applying the law as written, without the exemptions for those favored by the White House, is guaranteed to generate hostility toward the plan. Even labor unions have said the plan, as written, is unworkable.
The legal team fighting the case explains: “It’s very clear why President Obama has resorted to these extra-constitutional means to avoid the unpleasant consequences of Obamacare. He’s a politician. And he knows that his unpopular health care overhaul will lead to disastrous political results he’d rather delay as long as he can. The problem is the Obama administration is operating outside of the law. And businesses are suffering.”