Key ObamaCare Mandate Delayed; Critics Escalate Attacks

By:  Bob Adelmann
Key ObamaCare Mandate Delayed; Critics Escalate Attacks

Tuesday's announcement by the Treasury Department delaying implementation of part of ObamaCare may turn out to be a brilliant political maneuver: defanging latent Republican resistance until after the 2014 elections.

In an online statement posted on Tuesday, Mark Mazur, an assistant secretary at the Treasury Department, said the agency would delay for one year any imposition of penalties onto companies failing to provide insurance coverage for its employees under ObamaCare:

We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively. We have listened to your feedback. And we are taking action.

This was followed up with a posting on the White House website by Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett: "We are cutting red tape and simplifying the reporting process. Some of this detailed reporting may be unnecessary for [some] businesses."

This would impact only companies employing 50 or more employees. The individual mandate and the requirement for state exchanges remained in place. The biggest impact is likely for major hotel chains, restaurants, and retail stores that employ many low-wage workers. Some have already cut workers’ hours to keep them below the “full-time” ObamaCare definition of 30 hours a week while others have put off hiring new workers until the ObamaCare requirements were clarified.

The announcement provided an opportunity for those opposed to ObamaCare to voice their opposition, claiming vindication, venting frustration, and voicing iterations of demands for repeal of the health care law. Senator John Barasso (R-Wyo.) said Mazur’s announcement was a “clear admission [that the law is] unaffordable, unworkable and unpopular.” He also said the timing was suspicious: “It’s also a cynical ploy to delay the coming train wreck associated with ObamaCare until after the 2014 elections.”

There are 21 Democrats in the Senate defending their seats in 2014 and the GOP had already planned to make the ObamaCare compliance difficulties a major issue in their campaigns. The House has already voted repeatedly to repeal or at least defund part of ObamaCare since its passage in 2010. House Speaker John Boehner said:

The president's health care law is already raising costs and costing jobs. This announcement means even the Obama administration knows the “train wreck” will only get worse. … And it underscores the need to repeal the law and replace it with effective, patient-centered reforms.

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