Speaking of bad lawmaking….

Yes, I’m referring to (Un)Affordable Care Act (i.e. Obamacare).

My last post made note of the increase in new laws going into effect at the first of the year and included a quote from James Madison. Here’s a fuller version:

It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known and less fixed?

James Madison

So, in summary, the law must be:
1) Readable – Not be so voluminous that it cannot be read
2) Understandable – Not be so incoherent it cannot be understood
3) Stable – Not be under constant modification

ACA and it’s implementation (or lack thereof) has violated every one of those points.

Consider the following:

The Affordable Care Act alone was 2,409 pages [1]. After it’s passage, it generated at least 11,000 pages of regulations [2] (there are higher estimates but I’ll stick with the lower number because even that is unacceptable). Unless one’s full time job is to keep up with legislation and regulation, this is in no way a readable law.

The Act itself was so long that even one of the lead Democrat Representatives, John Conyers, refused to read it and mocked those who demanded that Congress AT LEAST read the bill before passing it (let alone, understand it) [3]. He further indicated he would need two lawyers just to understand it. If those creating and passing the legislation, whose full time responsibility it is to craft and approve legislation with a staff of lawyer underlings cannot be bothered to understand the law, why should the general public?

As the bill neared implementation deadlines and those on the right that correctly predicted problems with the law were proven right, the President unconstitutionally began modifying elements of the law starting with the Employer Mandate [4]. As the debacle with the Healthcare.gov website unfolded and lingered, the President realized he would need to also modify the Individual Mandate [5] and there is now talk of legislation to allow individuals to go back to their original plans [6], which the ACA outlawed and the insurance companies no longer offer. Individuals, employers and insurance companies cannot hope to be able to comply with a law that is changing at the President’s whim. There is nothing stable about the ACA.

The ACA is neither readable, understandable nor stable. It is Exhibit A in a parade of bad lawmaking and the culmination of bad law that was started in early 1900s when the Federal government began overstepping it’s Constitutional bounds (although I’m sure there are earlier examples).


[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolynmcclanahan/2012/07/09/cliffs-notes-version-of-the-affordable-care-act/

[2]http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/10/23/affordable-care-act-pages-long/3174499/

[3]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACbwND52rrw

[4]http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/07/02/white-house-to-delay-obamacares-employer-mandate-until-2015-far-reaching-implications-for-the-private-health-insurance-market/

[5]http://www.nationaljournal.com/health-care/obama-administration-to-delay-individual-mandate-for-some-20131219

[6]http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2013/11/14/is-obama-right-to-restore-insurance-plans-cancelled-under-obamacare

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