On the first day of federal government shutdown over a dispute about funding Obamacare, a Florida orthodontist announced a federal lawsuit challenging the administration’s decision in July to delay the employer mandate for one year.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, initially mandated that both individuals carry insurance and employers provide it starting in January 2014.
However, on July 2, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the employer mandate would be delayed until January 2015. The individual mandate is set to begin on time.
A suit filed by Dr. Larry Kawa of Kawa Orthopedics in Boca Raton, Fla., contends the Obama administration exceeded its “statutory authority, is arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law, and is otherwise unlawful” in extending the employer mandate without congressional authority.
Kawa has 70 full-time employees, according to Judicial Watch, the conservative government watchdog group that filed the lawsuit on behalf of Kawa. The employer mandate applied to all companies with 50 or more employees.
“[Kawa Orthodontics] expended substantial time and resources, including money spent on legal fees and other costs, in preparation for the ‘employer mandate’ taking effect on January 1, 2014,” the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in the Souther District of Florida says.
It continues, arguing that the company “would not have expended its time and resources and incurred these anticipatory costs in 2013 if the mandate had not been scheduled to take effect until 2015, but instead would have spent its time, resources, and money on other priorities.”
“I am tired of Washington, D.C., picking winners and losers and giving preferential treatment to those inside the Beltway,” Kawa said. “This is just more of D.C. career politicians protecting their own.”
Judicial Watch announced the lawsuit at the National Press Club in Washington Tuesday.
“We obviously object to the employer mandate and the entire Obamacare law, but we understand that, under the U.S. Constitution, the law can only be changed by legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said.
“President Obama would delay the damage of his health care scheme until after the 2014 congressional elections,” Fitton continued. “But politics do not trump the Constitution or the rule of law. And to paraphrase Ulysses S. Grant, the best way to ensure the repeal of a bad law is to enforce it vigorously.”
The question of the employer mandate and individual mandate was central in the House’s final attempt to stave off a government shutdown. The final bill delayed the individual mandate for one year, to be on the same timeline as the employer mandate, but the proposal was rejected by the Senate.