Federal Court Asked to Stop Obama Administration Delay of Obamacare Employer Mandate
DECEMBER 16, 2013
“Defendants’ delay of the mandate violates the Administration Procedures Act. It exceeds Defendants’ statutory jurisdiction, authority, and limitations, is contrary to constitutional right, power, or privilege, and is otherwise not in accordance with law.” – Kawa Orthodontics v. Jack Lew, Motion for Summary Judgment
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today announced that on December 13, 2013, it filed a motion for summary judgment in its litigation on behalf of Dr. Larry Kawa of Kawa Orthodontics against the U.S. Department of Treasury, Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew, the Internal Revenue Service and IRS Acting Director Daniel Werfel challenging the Obama administration’s decision to delay the enactment of the so-called “employer mandate” provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. The lawsuit is pending in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida (Kawa Orthodontics, LLP vs. Jack Lew, et al (No. 9:13-cv-80990)).
Judicial Watch attorneys, on behalf of Dr. Kawa, state:
This lawsuit raises a single, straightforward legal question: does the Executive Branch have the authority to ignore a clear, congressionally-imposed deadline affecting hundreds of thousands of employers and millions of employees across the country on a matter of unquestionable importance. . . .
The answer to the question posed by this lawsuit is quite plainly “No.” Defendants’ delay of the mandate violates the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”). It exceeds Defendants’ statutory jurisdiction, authority, and limitations, is contrary to constitutional right, power, or privilege, and is otherwise not in accordance with law. Rejecting a date enacted into law by Congress and picking a new date more to the Executive Branch’s liking is the epitome of arbitrary and capricious agency action. The Court should reject Defendants’ lawlessness and restore the rule of law to the Executive Branch’s implementation of the ACA. It should declare Defendants’ postponement of the “employer mandate” to be unlawful, set aside Defendants’ unlawful agency action, and reinstate the date established by Congress. The Court also should enjoin any further unauthorized delay of the mandate’s effective date.
The employer mandate, which subjects certain large employers to tax penalties if they do not offer “affordable,” “minimum essential” health insurance coverage to their employees, is considered “a major pillar of the ACA.” By law, the mandate was required to take effect January 1, 2014. On July 2, 2013, however, the Obama administration officially postponed the mandate without the approval of Congress.
According to the opposition to the motion to dismiss also filed on December 13, 2013, the unlawful delay of the “employer mandate” has caused Kawa Orthodontics “to lose the substantial time and resources it expended and the significant opportunity costs it incurred in anticipation of” the controversial provision taking effect beginning next year. According to the Agency for Health Research and Quality of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the number of employers in the United States having more than 50 employees is as high as 1.6 million, each of whom could be affected as well.
“Dr. Kawa is asking the court to order the Obama administration to obey its signature Obamacare law. President Obama’s decision to rewrite Obamacare has harmed and continues to harm Dr. Kawa’s business,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Simply put, the president’s unconstitutional power grab should be stopped by the courts as quickly as possible.”
“I am fed up with Washington, DC dictating our futures and playing politics with the law of the land. This is just more example of DC’s career politicians thinking more about the next election than the next generation,” said Dr. Larry Kawa of Kawa Orthodontics. “President Obama isn’t above the law.”
Dr. Kawa, a graduate of NYU School of Dentistry, has been a local business owner and community leader for over 20 years. He is on the board of directors for both PROPEL, a nonprofit foundation for underprivileged youth, and the Lynn University College of Business.
“I work hard so that I can give back to my community. I help low-income youth by providing them free braces, and even sponsor Little League baseball. What is sad is that the administration’s blatant disregard for the law hurts more than inside the Beltway, it hurts all over the homeland,” stated Dr. Kawa. “Transparency and rule of law shouldn’t just be terms in government class textbooks, they should be principles that are followed in government offices.”