Trump and Obamacare, by Andrew P. Napolitano

When the Republican Congress refused to make an appropriation for Obamacare in 2013, President Obama had no constitutional authority to spend the money he deemed necessary for the program. Now President Trump has reversed that unconstitutional executive order. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

Late last week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing the secretaries of the treasury and health and human services to cease making payments to health care insurance companies in behalf of the more than 6 million Americans who qualify for these payments under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

Obamacare is the signature legislation of former President Barack Obama, enacted in 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012. Its stated goal was to use the engine of the federal government to make health insurance available and affordable to everyone in America.

It seeks to achieve that goal by regulating the delivery of health care, giving federal bureaucrats access to everyone’s medical records, compelling everyone in America to acquire health insurance and providing financial subsidies for those people whose household incomes are below certain levels and who do not otherwise qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. Under President Obama, the subsidies were regularly paid, and they had been paid under President Trump, as well, until he decided to cease paying them last week.

Here is the back story.

How is it up to the president to decide whether to spend federal dollars when the law requires him to do so? The answer to that question depends on whether Congress has authorized the specific expenditure of the tax dollars.

Under the Constitution, when Congress passes legislation that directs the president to spend federal tax dollars — or, as is likelier the case today, dollars borrowed by the federal government — Congress must appropriate funds for the expenditure. So for every federal program that spends money, Congress must first create the program — for example, building a bridge or paving an interstate highway — and then it must pass a second bill that appropriates money from the federal treasury and makes it available to the president for the purpose stated in the first law.

To continue reading: Trump and Obamacare

 

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