When I heard the Obama administration had unilaterally delayed an important milestone in the Affordable Health Care Act, I had to chuckle. Certainly there may have been some implementation issues, but you know this move was to delay the implementation – at the employer level – until after the midterm elections.
One Republican called the move deviously brilliant, and I must agree. The administration can put all of the blame on what can only be described as minor reporting issues, and almost take Obamacare off the table for the Nov. 2014 election cycle. Americans have short memories and short attention spans, but can the Republicans still use this move against the Democrats in 2014?
Doesn’t the legislation stipulate the implementation date? It certainly does, and Big Government has a post about the specific issue.
Section 1513’s “Employer Mandate” is one of five parts of the ACA that are absolutely essential for this government-run system to work, with the most well-known of those five being the infamous “Individual Mandate” upheld by the Supreme Court as a tax by a controversial 5-4 decision in 2012.
And the Employer Mandate is mandatory. The law Congress wrote explicitly commands that this provision takes effect in January 2014. The ACA does not permit the government to grant a reprieve or an extension.
Yet in a blatantly illegal move, the Obama administration is presuming to rewrite the ACA by choosing not to enforce provisions that are causing visible problems.
This administration picks and chooses what laws it wants to enforce and which they want to ignore every single day don’t they?
What about the individual mandate? When you read about the huge premium increases coming from Obamacare, the most extreme increases are from the individual health care insurance market. These are individuals and families who are going direct to purchase health care insurance instead of most everyone else who get it through their employer. There is no delay to implement that part of the program. Those individuals are now being treated quite differently by the government when it comes to implementation rules. Bill Kristol at the Weekly Standard asks…
Shouldn’t House and Senate Republicans move next week to delay the individual mandate as well? Will Democrats stand up on the floor of Congress to defend the proposition that businesses deserve relief, but not people? I doubt it. You could see a real rout on the floor of the House—and then the Senate.
Could Obama even sustain a veto of such legislation?
And once the individual mandate is delayed for a year, it can be delayed for another year. And another. Until it, and the whole superstructure of Obamacare, which rests on it, can be repealed.
What about all of the millions of dollars that have been poured into getting this implementation in place by Jan. 1, 2014? I used to work for a health insurance company and I know a significant number of IT dollars needed to be thrown at getting this done in time … and now the Obama administration just changes the rules? It’s not like the big health care insurance companies can go back to the government and adjust their invoice because of a change order … these are federal mandates. More from Avik Roy at Forbes.
Even if the Obama administration’s delay lasts for only one year, that delay will give firms time to restructure their businesses to avoid offering costly coverage, leading to an expansion of the individual insurance market and a shrinkage of the employer-sponsored market. Remember that the administration is not delaying the individual mandate, which requires most Americans to buy health coverage or face a fine.
But delaying the employer mandate could lead, ultimately, to its repeal, which would do much to transition our insurance market from an employer-sponsored one to an individually-purchased one.
I can tell you from experience health insurance companies do not want to destroy employer sponsored health care insurance. They strongly believe costs are kept lower and they make more money as compared to individual policies. Heck, even though they are small players in the California market, both Aetna and UnitedHealthcare flat-out pulled out of the individual California market … it was not turning even a small profit.
Working against health insurance companies is a federal government that is more than willing to kill the employer sponsored market through mandates and regulation, and blame it on the employers. That would leave the individual market to provide coverage options, but that will prove to be cost prohibitive to individuals and families. See where I’m going here? The federal government will just have to step in and provide a single-payer, government provided health care system since the free market “failed” because of …. the federal government mandates and regulations.