By Jeff Thomas
The upcoming Donald Trump presidency marks the beginning of a transition for America. The changes will come fast and with a suddenness that may shock many Americans. Much of the work of President Barak Obama was able to accomplish was through executive order. Pitted against a Republican Congress, Obama relied heavily on executive orders to push his liberal agenda.
While necessary to thwart a Congress hell bent on defeating all his proposals, Obama’s easy to pass executive orders can also be quickly and easily undone by new Trump executive orders. You can expect the Trump presidency to attack low hanging fruit and claim commando like control and undo many of the Obama accomplishments. One key exception is the Affordable Care Act. Obamacare was passed by Congress and cannot be overturned without Congressional action.
Executive orders are official, legal and binding actions that nearly every President has used. “The president’s power to issue executive orders comes from the Congress and the U.S. Constitution. Executive orders do not require congressional approval. Thus, the president can use them to set policy while avoiding public debate and opposition. Presidents have used executive orders to direct a range of activities, including establishing migratory bird refuges; putting Japanese-Americans in internment camps; enlarging national forests; prohibiting racial discrimination in housing; keeping the federal workplace drug free; and sending U.S. troops to Bosnia.”
Ironically, much of Obama’s legacy may be undone because he was compelled to rely so heavily on executive orders to advance his agenda because the Republicans in Congress were the party of no. Cognizant that his successor could undo his actions, the Obama administration worked to insure the long term viability of all of his orders. For example, his most controversial recent executive order has been the LGBT bathroom order. Worked into the language were policies that government contractor’s had to make procedural changes in their corporate structures that would be far reaching and impactful in hiring. Once the new procedures were rolled out, then the humpty dumpty effect might prevent or delay reversal even if new reversal policies are introduced by President –Elect Trump.
But the most important legislation Obama implemented was the Affordable Care Act. His signature legislation has transformed American healthcare. In fact, Obamacare is not only the most important and significant legislation of the 21st century but of the last 50 years. And the Humpty Dumpty effect is fully in place with this legislation. Universal healthcare is now a fact of American life. Too many Americans depend upon this healthcare to simply repeal the law.
So many people feel Republicans’ desire to repeal and replace Obamacare is motivated by a desire to not have this historical legislation tied to Barak Obama. Remarkably despite facing unprecedented Congressional gridlock, Obamacare is the law of the land. And unlike an executive order which can be rather easily undone, a repeal of Obamacare cannot be done by another executive order; instead, a full act of Congress is the only way to repeal Obamacare. The most significant legislation in modern American history is the result of the unparalleled and unrivaled political sophistication and skill of our country’s first and only African American President.
And with so many Americans enjoying the benefits of Obamacare, even with full control of the federal government, Republicans could no longer boast of simply repealing Obamacare. “Repeal and replace” is the new politicized talking point. However, there is no need to replace the law. If it is true that Obamacare is too unwieldly or expensive, overhauling the defects in the law is the better solution. Creating chaos in the marketplace is unhealthy for the market and the participants. Stress is bad for markets and for consumers. But the Republicans’ desire to minimize the legacy of Barak Obama clouds the irony in creating an unhealthy environment for Americans in the name of correcting the current healthcare law.