House Republicans said Wednesday they are launching an investigation into the Obama administration’s decision to delay the “employer mandate” provision in the new health care law.
Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee argued the White House’s consultations with business leaders ahead of Tuesday’s announcement were conducted in secret and raise questions about the administration’s ability to carry out other facets of the Affordable Care Act.
“Just as the law was crafted out of sight from the American people, the administration is again taking care of some interests behind closed doors while struggling Americans are left to pay for the looming rate shock and grapple with the law’s complex mandates,” said committee Chairman Fred Upton, Michigan Republican.
The employer mandate required businesses with more than 50 workers to offer insurance to all full-time employees, or else pay a fine of $2,000 per worker. Business lobbied heavily against the mandate, and now it will not go into effect until after the 2014 mid-term elections.
The House committee has requested details from the Treasury Department and the Health and Human Services Department “to better understand the process being used by this administration to determining which provisions of the law to implement, on what time-table, and the feedback upon which such decisions are being made.”
The individual mandate, which applies to those who are self-employed or whose companies don’t offer insurance, is still in effect as of 2014.
The White House also reaffirmed that is is “full steam ahead” in opening up insurance markets by Oct. 1.
The state-by-state markets, or “exchanges,” will allow small businesses and individuals without employer-based insurance to shop for health coverage with the help of government subsidies.