King: If Obama Wants to Change Health Care Law, 'He Must Come to Congress'

Susan Jones | July 3, 2013 | 11:59am EDT
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FILE - In this March 23, 2010, file photo, President Barack Obama reaches for a pen to sign the health care bill in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

( - "If President Obama wants to make changes to ObamaCare, he must come to Congress," Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said on Wednesday.

"Two years ago, the Obama Administration, through a memo from a Homeland Security Department bureaucrat, declared it would not enforce our nation's immigration laws. Now the Obama Administration, through a blog post by an Assistant Secretary in the Treasury Department, is declaring it won't even enforce its own health care law on employers.

"We live in a Constitutional Republic. We are a nation governed by laws written by Congress, not memos and blog posts written by bureaucrats," King said.

Congress passed the Affordable Care Act without a single Republican vote in March 2010. The law, which runs thousands of pages, requires all Americans to purchase health insurance and most businesses to provide it. The rules outline what basic services businesses must cover, and it establishes fines for individuals and businesses that don't comply with the various mandates.

The law also directs the states to set up health insurance exchanges, where people may shop for "affordable" insurance coverage.

On Tuesday, a Treasury Department bureaucrat announced that the Obamacare business mandate will be delayed for one year, until 2015. But the law says businesses with 50 or more full time employees must start providing "affordable" insurance that meets certain basic standards at the beginning of 2014 or pay a penalty to the IRS.

The year-long delay also gives employers more time to set up a  proccess for reporting each workers' access to, and enrollment in, health insurance.

"Some of this detailed reporting may be unnecessary for businesses that more than meet the minimum standards in the law," White House adviser Valerie Jarrett said on Wednesday. "We will convene employers, insurers, and experts to propose a smarter system and, in the interim, suspend reporting for 2014."

King, an Obamacare opponent, noted that Congress already has made some changes to Obamacare, and he says  that's what should happen now:

"President Obama has no constitutional authority to amend his own bill," King said. "He has no constitutional authority to simply waive the law. No matter Obama's determination to suspend his own law, only Congress can do so."

While the Obama administration is delaying certain business mandates, it is not delaying the requirement for all Americans to purchase health insurance, either through their employer or through one of the state exchanges.

"We are on target to open the Health Insurance Marketplace on October 1 where small businesses and ordinary Americans will be able to go to one place to learn about their coverage options and make side-by-side comparisons of each plan’s price and benefits before they make their decision," Jarrett said on Wednesday.

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