- The Washington Times - Monday, December 9, 2013

One of Congress’ staunchest critics of Obamacare released a report Monday that cheers on legal challenges to the overhaul and says the White House overstepped its authority by delaying aspects of the law.

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican who helped engineer a lengthy government funding stalemate earlier this year in a bid to block money for the new health care law, said many aspects of the Affordable Care Act are “constitutionally or statutorily suspect” and that the entire law should be repealed.

While a repeal is unlikely so long as Democrats control the Senate and White House, Mr. Cruz said President Obama deserves flak for taking unilateral steps to put off portions of the law, saying the president and fellow Democrats were responsible for this summer’s government shutdown.

“Democrats forced a government shutdown instead of agreeing to a congressional delay of Obamacare, but now the Obama administration is unilaterally delaying it,” he wrote in his report. “This undermines the rule of law.”

The White House has argued they are open to improving Mr. Obama’s signature law and that they’re being flexible by putting off certain portions.

In July, the Obama administration announced a one-year delay of the employer mandate requiring larger firms to provide health insurance to full-time employees. Republicans criticized the move as an attempt to implement an unpopular provision after the mid-term elections.

Mr. Cruz’s report also notes delays to a cap on out-of-pocket health expenses, that Mr. Obama is allowing people to renew for one-year plans that do not meet the law’s requirements. Federal lawmakers and staff are also able to keep a generous employer subsidy to pay for premiums even though they are now forced under the law to get their insurance through an Obamacare exchange.

“Obamacare does not allow ‘official’ congressional staff to continue receiving pre-Obamacare federal health insurance plans; instead these staff are forced to go through the Obamacare exchanges to purchase health insurance,” he said. “So just like average Americans, these individual congressional staffers will have to purchase a plan for themselves.”

Mr. Cruz will avoid the debate, personally, because he will obtain his health coverage from his wife’s employer, a spokesman has said.

The outspoken freshman senator also said the health care law violates the Constitution’s so-called origination clause, because it raises revenue but the bill did not originate in the House. Instead, he said, Democrats played a “shell game” by stripping out language from an unrelated House bill to replace it with the health law.

He also comes down on the side of plaintiffs leading two high-profile legal challenges to the law.

His report says the Obama administration infringed on business owners’ religious freedoms by forcing larger corporations to insure contraception, and that it violated the plain language of the health care law by extending premium subsidies to states that let the federal government run their exchanges.

The Supreme Court is taking up the contraception case this term, and a federal judge is expected to rule on the subsidies issue later this month.