- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Tweaks, twists and turns of Obama’s health law; mandate delay just the latest
President Obama’s decision this week to delay the employer mandate to provide health insurance is the latest tweak to his health law, and it underscores just how much of the bill remains in flux more than three years after he signed it into law.
The courts have rewritten the way the Medicaid expansion works, while Mr. Obama and Congress together have repealed a budget-busting long-term care program and onerous reporting requirements for businesses.
Then on Tuesday Mr. Obama took unilateral action to postpone the employer mandate for a year, with his aides saying they are trying to show the kind of flexibility all sides have asked for as the massive bill lurches toward full implementation.
The fits and starts have left an ever-shifting platform that could be even more complicated by the time the law’s most controversial aspect — the individual mandate to have health insurance or pay a fine/tax — goes into effect Jan. 1.
All sides had predicted the law, officially known as the Affordable Care Act and widely nicknamed “Obamacare,” would change over time, and even Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats had said they’d be open to tweaks that might make it work better.
Still, observers were caught off guard by the White House’s sudden decision to delay the employer mandate by one year, to 2015. The provision requires businesses with more than 50 workers to offer insurance to all full-time employees, or else pay a fine of $2,000 per worker.
Opponents of the law said the move exposed its fundamental flaws.
“Implementation of the ACA has not lowered costs or increased access as promised,” Sen. Jerry Moran, Kansas Republican, said this week. “Individuals, families and employers still face increasing health insurance costs, new taxes overseen by what we have recently learned is a politically-biased IRS, burdensome mandates, and massive uncertainty because of this flawed law.”
Republicans have repeatedly tried to repeal the law, or at least chip away at it, while Democrats say unfounded criticism and a lack of funding has undermined the administration’s efforts after years of work.
“The problem all along has been that while the program was passed with great fanfare a few years ago, most of the policies that will really impact people won’t take effect until 2014, ” said Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist and former spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “Which is a tough way to sell something to the American people, especially when the Republicans are doing everything they can to undermine a bill that is the law of the land.”
Mr. Jost also said “widespread, vicious opposition to this law” has been the prime source of turbulence along the path to implementation.
“It’s like if you’re trying to get your work done, and somebody’s slapping you in the face all the time,” he said.
The choices Congress made in writing the law have contributed to the complexity of getting it up and running.
Congress did not employ a single-payer system that would have given the federal government complete control, and in an attempt to give states some flexibility it offered them the chance to set up their own health insurance marketplaces, or exchanges. But more than half of the states decided to let the federal government create one for them, creating a hodgepodge of state-run and federally facilitated marketplaces.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Obama admin.: One in 10 Obamacare forms might have errors
- Obama administration knew of key Obamacare delay in August, emails say
- House Speaker John Boehner: It took me 3 to 4 hours to sign up for Obamacare
- Young millennials shun Obamacare, creating risky imbalance
Latest Blog Entries
- Calif.: Give 'gift of health' by pledging cash for the uninsured
- Tensions hit boiling point over Obamacare enrollment figures, error rates
- Young, uninsured adults vital to Obamacare are not keen on enrolling: New Harvard poll
- Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox will promote Obamacare at Mall of America
- HealthCare.gov employs a new look once again
By Tom Fitton
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow