Presidential power has provoked increasingly vigorous debate since the turn of this century. In recent years, scholars and lawyers have been grappling with how Congress's dictates may limit the President's Commander-in-Chief power to detain enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, to fight wars abroad, and to conduct intelligence activities at home. But policymakers have not yet explored the many possibilities for invoking the President's "Take Care" power to change health care policy.
This paper explores the scope and limits of President Barack Obama's ability to invoke his executive authority to reform health care. Specifically, it identifies ways the Obama Administration can use directives to: (1) expand Medicaid and SCHIP coverage through section 1115 waivers; (2) test quality initiatives through Medicare demonstration authority; (3) expand health information technology; (4) allow drug reimportation and experiment with contracting power under Medicare; (5) enhance patient protections and private coverage requirements; (6) lift coverage restrictions on Medicaid and SCHIP; and (7) build on the health insurance program for federal employees.
Consistent with the mission of the Legal Solutions in Health Reform project, this paper does not endorse a particular policy. Instead of recommending "what," it explains "how."
Chugh, Madhu, "Executive Authority to Reform Health: Options and Limitations" (2009). O'Neill Institute Papers. Paper 22.