The Obama administration will delay a crucial provision of its signature health-care law, giving businesses an extra year to comply with a requirement that they provide their workers with insurance. The government will postpone enforcement of the so-called employer mandate until 2015, after the congressional elections, the administration said yesterday. Under the provision, companies with 50 or more workers face a fine of as much as $3,000 per employee if they don’t offer affordable insurance. It’s the latest setback for a health-care law that has met resistance from Republicans, who have sought to make the plan a symbol of government overreach. Republican-controlled legislatures and governors in several states have refused funding to expand Medicaid coverage for the poor and declined to set up exchanges where individuals can buy insurance, leaving the job to the federal government. The delay in the employer mandate addresses complaints from business groups to President Barack Obama’s administration about the burden of the law’s reporting requirements.
If the White House had listened to business owners before passing this law, they wouldn't be mopping up their own mess today because Obamacare wouldn't exist. This development also marks the death of Democrats' bogus "Republican obstructionism" excuse-making. (It was always bogus because (a) the exclusively Democrat-written and -passed law allowed states to opt out of setting up exchanges, and (b) the mandatory Medicaid expansion element was struck down by seven Supreme Court justices). Now we have the Obama administration delaying a (second) major component of its own law due to a combination of incompetence, admitted economic harm and political considerations. Swing and a drive...
You know things are bad when you can’t even successfully implement your own bad ideas.— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) July 3, 2013
Under the law, eligibility for exchange subsidies depends on an individual not receiving an affordable offer of qualified insurance from an employer. If employers will now not be required to report on their insurance offerings in 2014, I don’t see how the government will be able to determine eligibility for subsidies, and therefore how the exchanges will be able to function. Making subsidies available without proof of eligibility would be very expensive and destabilizing to the insurance system, and would also require the retraction of such subsidies if the employer mandate ever does return. Coming up with other ways to prove eligibility would be very difficult at this late stage (as exchanges are supposed to start operating in three months), and would also be totally lawless...
Remember when Democrats announced their 2014 #Obamacare strategy was to "own it"?— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) July 2, 2013
I sure do. Good plan.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography