The Willingness to “Exercise Discretion”

admin   March 10, 2011   Comments Off on The Willingness to “Exercise Discretion”

A good argument can be made that the new healthcare bill is a poorly designed vehicle for expanding access to healthcare and for moderating its cost. But the worst of the bill is manifest in your October 1 article reporting on the Obama administration’s willingness to “exercise discretion” in whether HHS will enforce the minimum medical loss ratios against McDonald’s Corp. Imagine a law that allowed the IRS to ‘exercise discretion’ in the enforcement of the requirement that Exxon/Mobil pay taxes on income, or that allowed the Department of Labor to ‘exercise discretion’ in the enforcement of the requirement that Walmart not hire 12 year olds at below minimum wage rates to stock its shelves. Can anyone doubt that ‘discretion’ will have a different meaning for the powerful than it does for powerless, and a different meaning for businesses favored in the public eye than it does for those not so well liked? We can survive bad laws, as we have many times in our history, but we should all fear and condemn laws whose material terms can be enforced or waived at the discretion of the enforcing agency