The Washington Times - July 17, 2013, 11:57AM

New York insurance commissioners say premiums will drop by more than 50 percent next year among individuals who seek health insurance on the state-based exchange tied to President Obama’s health care law.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, announced this week the state had approved insurance plan rates for 17 insurers who want to offer coverage on the New York Health Benefits Exchange. The new rates represent a 53-percent drop compared to last year’s direct-pay individual rates, the state said.

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Democratic lawmakers touted the news on Wednesday as proof the Affordable Care Act is working as promised to drive up competition and lower premiums.

The Obama administration said the news out of New York is mirrored by similar results in Oregon and California.

Republican critics of the law say “Obamacare” imposes unfair mandates on individuals to purchase insurance and will send premiums soaring in some cases, particularly among younger, healthier people who now have to gain coverage.

House GOP leaders are holding a pair of votes on Wednesday to delay the individual mandate by one year and put into law the White House decision to put off, until 2015, a mandate on employers.

The Treasury and White House announced July 2 in a pair of blog posts that it would delay the provision that requires companies with the equivalent of 50 or more full-time workers to provide health coverage or pay fines.

The administration cited the concerns business leaders had about the mandate’s complex reporting requirements.