Sunday, August 18, 2013

Guest Post: When Is A Law Not A Law?

When Is A Law Not A Law?
Colonel Donald J. Myers USMC (Ret)

There are numerous organizations throughout the country that pass laws for their various jurisdictions such as congress for the country, state legislatures for individual states, cities for their localities and, counties for their districts. In each case, these laws must be obeyed by individuals or organizations in those areas or suffer the consequences. That no longer seems to be true if one follows what has been happening in our country lately.

On Tuesday, the administration announced that it was delaying the cap on out of pocket medical costs for individuals until next year. One part of ObamaCare was the Consumer Cost Protection clause that placed a cap of $6325 dollars for individuals to pay out of pocket per year for medical care. The insurance companies would have to eat any costs beyond that. That may sound great, but when costs increase, businesses pass the increase on to their customers. The customers in this case would be everyone who had a policy with that particular company. Every insurance company in the business would be in the same position, so everyone who had an insurance policy would see their premiums increase dramatically. Those increases would occur just before the midterm elections in November of next year. That would definitely make the current administration and its members of congress look especially bad immediately before the elections. Thus, allowing those with chronic medical problems face huge increases sounded much better for the administration than having everyone's premiums increase before the elections. Pure politics!! 

Last week, the president was instrumental in having the Office of Personnel Management state that it would pay up to 75% of the insurance costs for congress and its staff since it was so costly. Under ObamaCare, congress and its staff were subject to the insurance exchanges like everyone else rather than their current Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) where 75% of their costs are paid by the taxpayers. Congress was complaining that they and their staffs could not afford the huge increases in insurance premiums expected from ObamaCare. This is the law that this congress passed with great fanfare, but they want no part of it for themselves.

The ObamaCare mandate on businesses that required those businesses with 50 or more full time employees to provide health insurance to their employees was delayed for a year until 2015. That has been causing those businesses to reduce the hours of employees to less than 30 hours because the insurance was so expensive.

During the past four and a half years, we have seen numerous examples of the president and his cabinet officers change the effect of laws. The Justice Department unilaterally decided to not prosecute violators of the Defense of Marriage Act. The president instructed the Justice Department not to prosecute any illegal aliens who came here as children. The Justice Department now plans to reduce the mandatory sentences for drug offenders because of overcrowding in prisons.

These are some of the examples of what must be referred to as our Imperial Presidency. Congress makes laws and the executive branch does not have the authority to ignore, change, or create new meaning. If this continues, then what do any of our laws mean if the executive can do what he desires and there is no consequences to his actions? Our constitution must be followed or amendments made to it as prescribed by the constitution. 


Donald J. Myers a retired colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, is a regular columnist for Hernando Today. He lives in Spring Hill and can be contacted at

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