In a move Republicans portrayed as fair play for individuals and Democrats called a political stunt, the House of Representatives voted Wednesday to delay ObamaCare’s employer and individual mandates by a year.
Under the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA), both mandates are to take effect in January. Two weeks ago, however, the Obama administration announced that employers would get a one-year reprieve from the requirement that they offer “affordable” health insurance to their employees or pay a tax penalty. Individuals, who must have coverage or pay a penalty, will get no such breaks.
“I get to look at the Constitution once in a while. The Constitution makes it clear that Congress writes the law, and the president takes the oath of office to faithfully discharge the laws that are on the books,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “The idea that the president can merely go out there and make a decision about what he’s going to enforce and he isn’t going to enforce is fundamentally wrong.”
Thus, Republicans argued that they were only trying to make the president’s decision legal by passing the bill postponing the employer mandate. They hoped to attract a large number of Democrats to this cause and then use that as leverage to get those same congressmen to vote for delaying the individual mandate on the grounds that it would be unfair to treat businesses and individuals differently under the same law.
“What we really ought to do is to make it clear that individuals should be treated just like businesses,” Boehner said. “To say that, ‘well, we’re going to, we’re going to relax this mandate for a year on American business, but we’re going to continue to stick it to individuals and families’ is strictly, and simply, unfair to the American people.”
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