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IPAB, Obamacare’s Super-Legislature
It’s even worse than you thought.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius

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Michael F. Cannon

The Congressional Research Service and others have reported that Congress will always retain some (limited) power to block IPAB’s edicts, but they misread a crucial part of the statute. They thought they saw the word “or” where the statute actually says “and.” The difference is dramatic.

As we explain in our new report, under the statute as written, if Congress fails to repeal IPAB in 2017, the secretary must implement IPAB’s edicts even if Congress votes to block them. Nancy Pelosi was right: We needed to pass Obamacare to find out what was in it. We’re still finding out.

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Obamacare is so unconstitutional, it’s absurd. It delegates legislative powers that Congress cannot delegate. It creates a permanent super-legislature to supplement — and when conflicts arise, to supplant — Congress. It tries to amend the Constitution via statute rather than the amendment procedure of Article V.

Obamacare proves economist Friedrich Hayek’s axiom that government direction of the economy threatens both democracy and freedom. After decades of failing to deliver high-quality, low-cost health care through Medicare, Congress struck upon the “solution” of creating a permanent super-legislature — or worse, an economic dictator — with the power to impose taxes and other laws that the people would reject.

Fortunately, one Congress cannot bind future Congresses by statute. If the Supreme Court fails to strike down Obamacare, Congress should exercise its power to repeal IPAB — and the rest of Obamacare with it.

Michael F. Cannon (@mfcannon) is director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute. Diane Cohen is senior attorney at the Goldwater Institute and lead counsel in Coons v. Geithner, a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of IPAB. Their paper, “IPAB: ObamaCare’s Anti-Constitutional and Authoritarian Super-Legislature,” was released yesterday by the Cato Institute.



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