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Obama would veto GOP effort to delay individual mandate

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The White House said Tuesday that President Obama would veto a House GOP bill to delay a contentious part of Obamacare for one year.

The House is set to vote this week on the Simple Fairness Act, which let Americans go without health insurance in 2014 without facing the tax penalty prescribed by the Affordable Care Act.

Its Republican sponsor, Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, said it is only fair for individuals to get relief from the mandate while large employers see delays of a separate rule that requires firms to provide insurance to their full-time workers.

But the administration's Office of Management and Budget said her bill "would increase health insurance premiums, decrease tax credits, increase the number of uninsured, and shift costs to businesses, workers, and health care providers."

"Rather than attempting once again to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which the House has tried to do approximately 50 times, it is time for the Congress to stop fighting old political battles and join the President in an agenda focused on providing greater economic opportunity and security for middle class families and all those working to get into the middle class," it said in a statement of administration policy.

The individual mandate was included in the law to make sure enough healthy Americans joined state insurance risk pools when people with preexisting medical conditions entered the market, since the latter can no longer be denied by insurers.

The administration says the health care law is on the upswing despite early stumbles, and that more than 4 million people have signed up for private coverage on state-based health exchanges ahead of the March 31 deadline.

Republicans have said the administration is being hypocritical by repeatedly ordering administrative changes and delays to the law, only to thwart GOP-sponsored attempts to amend the law legislatively.

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