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Topics: Obamacare

Examiner Editorial: A sensible compromise, for now, on Obamacare defunding

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Editorial,Obamacare,President,Senate Republican Conference,Senate Democratic Conference,Heritage Foundation,Health Care,Federal Budget,Analysis,Constitutionality,Bob Corker

"We've gone beyond the romance of all of this," Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told CNBC shortly after the President announced he would not be enforcing Obamacare's employer mandate or its income verification provisions. "The makeup and lipstick are off. People are waking up to look at this bill. It is a serious pig." But that was then. Now, three weeks later, Corker is singing a different tune. "Oh, I think it's a silly effort," Corker told MSNBC Tuesday about conservative plans to either defund or delay Obamacare in the coming continuing resolution to keep the federal government running through September 2014.

"I don't look at that as very courageous," Corker continued. "Most of us see through it and realize that these people are really just taking themselves out of the debate." But the only person taking himself out of the debate on the most important issue of the day is Corker and others in the Republican pantheon who would surrender to Obama without a fight. First, there is little doubt that Obama's unilateral decisions to delay the Obamacare employer mandate and the law's income verification requirement were illegal. As Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, told the New York Times, "this was the law. How can they change the law?"

Second, as the Heritage Foundation's Chris Jacobs recently explained, removing the income verification provisions from Obamacare's premium subsidy eligibility process is an invitation to defraud the American people. "In many of these cases, individuals will receive more in benefits than they will have to repay the federal government," Jacobs wrote of individuals who lie about their income. "Therefore, as long as they qualify for some subsidy, dishonest individuals have incentive to fudge their income so they receive the maximum subsidy."

Congressional Republicans can disagree on how to defeat Obamacare ultimately, but fraud prevention should be a high priority for all public servants regardless of party. But Obama is far more interested in launching his signature domestic program than he is in preventing fraud. Hence, his unlawful postponement of the income verification requirement. Normally, this issue would be resolved by the courts.

Unfortunately, there is no citizen-suit provision in Obamacare and establishing standing to contest fraud in a federal program is exceptionally difficult. Plus, the subsidy payments begin Jan. 1, 2014. The only hope the American people have of preventing Obama's fraud on the American people is for Congress to act. And that is exactly what the movement to defund or delay Obamacare through the continuing resolution is all about.

Will the Senate pass, and Obama sign, a full defunding of Obamcare, even for just one year? No and no. But that doesn't mean Congress should sit idly by as Obama heedlessly sends hundreds of millions of tax dollars to fraudsters. Instead, Republicans should demand that at a minimum language be included in the continuing resolution forbidding the disbursement of any health insurance subsidies until Obamacare's income verification requirement is restored and fully functioning. Everybody should agree on that.

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