A top House Democrat accused Republicans on Wednesday of ravaging President Obama’s health care law, only to cry foul when the complex reforms hit a roadblock this month ahead of key implementation dates.
Washington Rep. Jim McDermott, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee’s subcommittee on health issues, said House Republican leaders should spend less time trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and more time on reforms that serve the American people.
His criticism arrived shortly after subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady, Texas Republican, said he convened the hearing to explore the White House’s “strangely timed” decision to delay the health law’s employer mandate by one year, to the start of 2015, which pushes its penalties past the midterm elections.
The mandate requires firms of 50 or more workers to provide adequate health insurance to their workers or pay hefty fines.
House GOP leaders have seized on the move, questioning its legality and planning test votes to see if Democrats will stand by the White House’s delay or support a delay to the law’s individual mandate. The individual mandate requires all Americans to gain health coverage and is moving forward as planned.
“Obamcare is simply not ready,” Mr. Brady said.
Mr. McDermott said it is disingenuous for the Republican leadership to withhold funding, attempt to dismantle the law and then express shock at its implementation stumbles.
“I’m sure it’s tempting for those who have stood against reform and progress from the beginning to see this as a chance to rip Obamacare apart again, yet another time,” Mr. McDermott said. “The irony of objecting to the delay of a program you’ve been trying to stop is, no doubt, lost on this room. We’re even going to get a 38th vote, shortly, to repeal it, so you know where one half of this room is coming from.”
The hearing’s first witness, a former assistant budget director for the Bush administration from 2001 to 2004, lambasted the White House’s delay of the employer mandate as a violation of the law’s intent and a revenue-stripping maneuver that could upset the law’s fiscal balance.