Trump’s healthcare-based executive orders, which provide relief from tax penalties and offer opt outs that will ultimately defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, is arguably a violation of the second article of the Constitution. If you’re not familiar with the second article, it basically states that the president must, in good faith, uphold laws that are already in place. Now, this doesn’t mean the president can’t attempt to repeal a law. In fact, that’s what is legally expected. It also does not stand to reason that the president can enforce every law to the highest level of fidelity. However, it is expected that the laws are not blatantly and intentionally subverted.
So, herein lies the conundrum: President Trump has openly admitted that he has every intention of allowing Obamacare to fail, which could be viewed as part of his executive discretion, but is also in direct conflict with his oath to uphold the laws that are currently in effect.
As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2017
Part of the problem is comparing Trump’s actions with those of the presidents in power before him, and what reactions they incurred. Were their actions considered Constitutional violations? For example, Bloomberg View presented a comparison between Trump’s lack of enforcing tax penalties for the ACA now, and Obama’s lack when it was first enacted. It’s arguable, according to the July 2017 Bloomberg View article, that Obama’s lack of initial enforcement could be seen as an effort to ease the country into the new mandate, which isn’t a violation in the sense that it wasn’t an intentional effort to undermine the law.
It’s not surprising that this debate splits along party lines. Many Democrats feel that the simple fact that Trump admitted he was purposefully attempting to cause Obamacare to fail is exactly what makes it a violation of the Constitution. Besides, it places further hardships on those who need affordable and consistent access to healthcare. Many Republicans, Trump supporters, and anti-Obamacare activists are supportive of these moves by Trump to relieve the American populace from unwanted aspects of Obamacare. They see it as him moving towards giving us something better than Obamacare, which was one of his campaign promises.
In the following video clip from Fox Business, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano sheds some light on why President Trump signed the initial healthcare executive order, and how it is a “revolutionary” approach to policy change.
When President Trump signed the initial healthcare executive order, his goal was to relieve the tax penalty burden, which many already viewed as unconstitutional. The second healthcare executive order was signed to promote healthcare choice and competition. Both were executed with the perceived intention of bringing about the downfall of Obamacare.
Trump’s healthcare executive orders ARE a violation of his Oath of Office
Trump’s latest attack on Obamacare violates his oath to uphold Constitution https://t.co/LVg2HGhYfp
— Salon (@Salon) October 13, 2017
Actions by a sitting president in opposition to a standing constitutional law are treasonous under his oath of office.
— Bim Bom (@hobo_bonobo) July 30, 2017
I disagree. Also the repeal of the subsidies by way of executive order is unconstitutional. No different when Obama passed DACA.
— 🇺🇸CA 🇻🇮Patriot🇺🇸 (@Libertarian181) October 14, 2017
President Trump’s health care executive order may seem a little complicated so let me break it down: It’s sabotage.
— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) October 12, 2017
Trump’s healthcare executive orders are NOT a violation of his Oath of Office
Hell, Obamacare went against the U S Constitution. The taxation; it bypassed Congress; illegal penalty; violated State's rights, etc.
— CaptainSkittles (@SectyHarris) October 13, 2017
Trump's Obamacare Executive Order only ended what 2 Federal Judges had already ruled unconstitutional. Spending $$$ not authorized by House.
— RD Tudor (@RD_Tudor) October 13, 2017
Obama gave $7 billion a year to insurance companies by executive order, and you say undoing that is unconstitutional.
Nice job, Dems. pic.twitter.com/IbDxN5d0aN
— SocialismIsBad (@CapitalismGood) October 13, 2017
Do Trump’s healthcare executive orders violate his oath to uphold the Constitution?