The Obama Administration delaying the implementation of the employer mandate is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Of course the conservative commentators are all over it and are enjoying it as much as me.
First up, from the Heritage Foundation:
So Which Part of Obamacare Works, Then?
Obamacare is so helpful, so ready for action, so vital to the nation’s health, that… the Obama Administration is delaying another major part of it.
News broke yesterday that the Administration is delaying the employer mandate, which would force businesses with 50 or more full-time workers to provide government-approved insurance, until 2015.
When Obamacare was engineered, the Administration and its allies in Congress made sure that the major parts affecting all Americans would be delayed until after the 2012 presidential election. Now, however, the Obama Administration is delaying one of the most well-known elements of Obamacare until after the 2014 midterm congressional election.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, described the announcement as “deviously brilliant,” even as Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett assured people that this merely means the Administration is “listening” to our concerns.
But Obamacare bombshells are dropping daily. Health insurance companies are exiting the market. Premiums could double.
National Review said it all in their headline, and then ran excerpts from what a few others had to say:
So it turns out that massive laws passed by Congress can be delayed if the executive branch feels like it. From Bloomberg:
The Obama administration will delay a crucial provision of its signature health-care law, giving businesses an extra year to comply with a requirement that they provide their workers with insurance.
The government will postpone enforcement of the so-called employer mandate until 2015, after the congressional elections, the administration said yesterday. Under the provision, companies with 50 or more workers face a fine of as much as $3,000 per employee if they don’t offer affordable insurance.
Chris Jacobs at Heritage asks some big questions:
The idea that selectively enforcing one provision of the law could “solve” all the problems inherent in Obamacare is absurd on its face. In fact, the administration’s position raises more questions than it answers:
• If the employer mandate will prove so devastating to businesses that it can’t be enforced in 2014 — following three years of implementation work — why should it be enforced at all?
• Will delaying implementation of the employer mandate encourage more firms to drop coverage entirely and dump their workers on to exchanges, raising the cost of taxpayer-funded subsidies by trillions?
• What about individuals who can’t afford to buy health insurance, yet will be forced to do so under Obamacare? Will they get an exemption from enforcement as well?
This looks political. The unpopular law will kill jobs and drive up rage going into the 2014 mid-term elections, so the regime has decided to delay it past the mid-terms. Just like it delayed ruling on the XL pipeline. Kick the can.
Meanwhile, the individual mandate and the mandate on religious employers to provide abortifacients remain in force. If a Republican tilted things like this, they would be accused of favoring corporate interests above all.”
I started to write a post questioning how a president can unilaterally suspend the collection of a duly passed tax, but then I decided to read the whole article I linked. This is the kind of diligence you get for your blogging dollar, folks! Anyway, the article says:
The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act allows the Obama administration to set the starting date for the employer coverage reporting requirement that’s the linchpin of the mandate. The administration had not yet announced a date, one of the officials said. Still, enforcement of the mandate had been widely expected to begin in 2014, the official said.
I guess I’ll take their word for it. If this is right, maybe we can just delay enforcement . . . forever.
In the short term, the delay will have several effects. First, the mandate drives up the cost of labor, and therefore increases unemployment; delaying the mandate by one year may modestly mitigate that disincentive.
Most importantly, the delay of the mandate means that more people will want to enroll in Obamacare’s subsidized insurance exchanges. Every year, fewer and fewer employers offer health coverage; given one more year to restructure their workforces, this process could accelerate.