Congress passed a 2,700-page bill on health care reform. How can Congress possibly know all of the details in this bill? Much less, how can U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius-to whom an unprecedented level of deciding power is allocated in this bill-possibly know and understand the laws set forth in the bill that is quickly catching on as “ObamaCare”?

In reading just a 35-page section of ObamaCare that outlines the establishment of state health care exchanges, the Secretary of Health and Human Services – an appointed official, mind you – was listed 110 times as the recipient of certain powers that originally would have belonged to Congress. The authority granted to Secretary Sebelius borders on violating the non-delegation doctrine, the principle that Congress cannot delegate legislative powers to anyone else. Considering the significance of this law – the violation of federalism and interference into the daily lives of all Americans – ObamaCare does not provide anything resembling sufficient guidance for the Secretary.

Out of the 110 times this small section delegates power to Secretary Sebelius, there are five that are particularly striking. Secretary Sebelius has been given authority to (1) certify health plans, (2) determine whether a state will have its required exchange fully operational by January 2014 lest the federal government take over the operation, (3) investigate the affairs of an exchange and require yet more reports, (4) establish geographically adjusted premium rates from Washington, and (5) set provider reimbursement rates.

The federal government is usurping what is intended to be the states’ responsibilities, only to hand it to an unelected official.

– Caitlin BuckIntern, Center for Health Care Policy