Notice & Comment

When norms break down.

I’ve got an article up at Vox on the possibility that Donald Trump might suspend enforcement of the ACA’s individual mandate. Would that be legal?

The short answer is no. The longer answer is more complicated, but it’s also instructive. At key points, President Barack Obama delayed aspects of the ACA in an effort to put health reform on a sound footing. The delays were classic examples of executive overreach; they never should have happened. The Republican-led House of Representatives even sued the president over them.

And now the shoe is on the other foot. With Trump in office, some of Obamacare’s fiercest critics seem almost giddy at the prospect that he might use the same weapon against the act. Pick your favorite tagline: payback is a bitch, what goes around comes around, “I learned it from watching you, Dad!”

What Trump has hinted at, however, would be a far greater overreach than Obama ever attempted. But Obamacare’s critics are unlikely to care. There’s an important lesson here about the accretion of executive power in the 21st century, how law is enforced outside the courts, and what presidential power might look like in an age of Trump.

Read the whole thing!


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