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A Florida orthodontist and conservative watchdog group filed suit Tuesday against the Obama administration for its delay of the employer mandate portion of Obamacare, arguing the president cannot pick and choose what parts of the law he wants to enforce.
Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit on behalf of Dr. Larry Kawa, owner of Kawa Orthodontics in South Florida, challenging Obama’s decision to postpone the employer mandate until 2015.
Kawa said he spent significant time and resources preparing for the mandate, which was ultimately suspended.
Judicial Watch and Kawa say the president has violated the constitution in order to prevent political fallout from Obamacare in the 2014-midterm elections, and want the employer mandate to be enforced.
“If the law is to fail, let it fail now, not when it’s politically convenient for the president,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch.
“The president wants to avoid the consequences of the law, and there are ways to do that legally, and that’s through having Congress repeal it or modify it,” he said. “He’s chosen not to do that and act as a one-man Congress.”
“He has no more power to do that than you or I,” Kawa said. “In fact, he has an affirmative duty to enforce the law, and we are here to make sure that he does that.”
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. district court for the Southern District of Florida, alleges that the administration violated its own health care law requiring the employer mandate to begin in January 2014.
The Treasury Department issued a notice on July 2, extending reporting requirements for the mandate to 2015. The mandate requires employers with more than 50 full-time workers to offer health insurance to their employees or face penalties.
“The delaying of the ‘employer mandate’ until at least January 1, 2015, exceeded Defendants’ statutory authority, is arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to the law,” the lawsuit states.
If successful, the lawsuit would place a permanent injunction against the administration’s delay.
Judicial Watch and Kawa said the lawsuit is not designed to dismantle the law, but to ensure that Obamacare is fairly enforced. The administration has also granted more than 1,200 waivers to businesses, and worked out a deal for Congress to keep generous government subsidies for their premiums.
“I am tired of government picking winners and losers, victors and victims,” Kawa said. “And I suggest it ends here today.”
Kawa employs more than 70 people, and under the Affordable Care Act is required to offer health insurance to his employees. Kawa, said he has been providing “top shelf” insurance to his employees for 20 years, but spent considerable time and money to make sure his business was meeting the administrative requirements of the law.
“As soon as I did that, this president moved the goal posts, something he was not permitted by law to do,” he said.
Fitton and Kawa said they support a repeal of the bill, but that their politics come second to the constitution.
“We obviously object to the employer mandate and to the entire Obamacare law,” Fitton said. “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.”
“President Obama would delay the damage of his health care scheme until after the 2014 congressional election, but politics do not trump the constitution or the rule of law,” he said.
“My more overarching belief is confidence in the framework of the constitution,” Kawa said. “To me, this is not about whether Obamacare is a good idea, a bad idea.”
“I am not in favor of Obamacare. However, I will tell you that it is the law and I respect the law,” he said. “I hope we have a president that does the same.”