House passes two bills to delay key Obamacare requirements
July 17th, 2013
07:48 PM ET
1 year ago

House passes two bills to delay key Obamacare requirements

Washington (CNN) - The House of Representatives passed two bills Wednesday postponing two key provisions of Obamacare, marking nearly 40 times that the Republican-controlled House has attempted to repeal or roll back parts of the president's signature first term accomplishment.

One measure, which passed 264-161, delayed for one year the requirement that employers provide health insurance, something the Obama administration already announced it was doing earlier this month. Thirty-five Democrats joined Republicans on the vote.

The other bill, approved 251-174, also postponed for one year the mandate that individuals sign up for health care coverage. That legislation was backed by 22 Democrats. One Republican, Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Virginia, opposed both bills.

Republicans argued it was unfair for the White House to give businesses a reprieve, but still require individuals to comply with the mandate or face a penalty.

“Why is it that working Americans have to suffer the financial burdens of an overreaching government-run health care system while the same consequences for big business are delayed a year?” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor asked on the House floor.

As it has on most other House Republican measures to change or repeal the health care law, the Obama administration threatened to veto both bills, but they are unlikely to go anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate

House Republicans know neither bill has any chance of actually becoming law. Wednesday’s votes were more about ramping up political pressure on congressional Democrats for the midterm elections. Obamacare continues to split the public, and GOP leaders believe a string of stories about delays and other potential problems enacting the law will create a public backlash.

The GOP campaign committees have made a top priority of putting Democrats in competitive districts - specifically those elected in 2012 - on the defensive on health care. And in fact the list of those who supported the GOP bills mirrored a list of Democrats whom Republicans believe they can defeat in 2014.

Illinois freshman Rep. Cheri Bustos is one of the House GOP's targets. She voted with Republicans on both bills to postpone the mandates and told CNN she has been hearing concerns from small businesses all over her district about dealing with Obamcare's requirements.

"If we're going to say that for small businesses then how do you separate out that it should be different for individuals, it's a consistency thing." Bustos said, echoing an argument that House Republicans made throughout the debate on the House floor.

The Illinois Democrat, who worked for a health care system before coming to Congress, said she supports Obamacare but was open to making changes to improve the law. She also emphasized the need to educate the public about the benefits.

"I think in the end if we fix some of the flaws and if we roll this out in a way that people can understand how it will help, then I think we'll be OK - over time, but I think it will be one of those over time kind of changes. This is a huge change."

But most Democrats argued Wednesday that the House vote delaying the employer mandate was a waste of time since the president already said he'd postpone that provision.

"Here we go again. Another repeal vote. Another political sideshow. And another blow to bipartisanship which is so vital to addressing a whole host of important issues including an issue important to our committee: tax reform,” Michigan Democratic Rep. Sander Levin said. “Instead of moving forward, once again my Republican colleagues are looking backwards."

House Speaker John Boehner argued that it was Congress' job to approve any change to Obamacare, citing the Constitution gives Congress the authority to draft the laws. "The idea that the president can merely go out there and make a decision about what he's going to enforce and what he isn't going to enforce is fundamentally wrong," he said.

Most Democrats did support the administration's decision to give businesses more time to implement the law, but they insisted that delaying the mandate for individuals – a centerpiece of the law – would put at risk health care coverage for millions.

Debate on the House floor showed the massive partisan gulf between the two parties on how the controversial health care law is working now.

"Delaying the employer mandate shows the train is in fact not coming off the rails, it's already off the rails,” Texas Republican Rep. Michael Burgess said.

California Democrat Jim McDermott cited new reports about health care costs dropping in many states and pointed to a report out Wednesday that premiums in New York state are being cut in half.

"There is no evidence of the sticker shock you will hear about. The promises we made Americans are being fulfilled and Republicans see a giant election map slowly losing red dots," McDermott said.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney brushed off the votes on Capitol Hill, saying they proved that Republicans were determined to do everything they could to undermine the law rather than ensure Americans received health care.

"There are few things more cynical than House Republicans who have made it their mission in life to repeal the Affordable Care Act and deny the American people the benefits that they would receive from implementation of the Affordable Care Act, claiming that they are concerned about the delay of the implementation of a relatively small provision within the Affordable Care Act," Carney said.


Filed under: House
soundoff (212 Responses)
  1. Salty Bob

    The new health care law is the law, the G.O.P. and right wing nuts nor religious ideology will change that! so as the old saying goes join us or get the hell out of the way.

    July 18, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  2. RandyIA

    Salty Bob

    The new health care law is the law, the G.O.P. and right wing nuts nor religious ideology will change that! so as the old saying goes join us or get the hell out of the way.
    =====================================
    If the law is the law, how can Obama delay part of it?

    July 18, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  3. DonN

    This Law benefits the people which is why the GOP is so adamantly opposed to it and the other reason is because fat cat insurance companies don't want it cutting into the lucrative Health Insurance cash cow.

    July 18, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  4. fed up

    You want the (right wingers) to get out of the way but you do want them to pay for this travesty. It is going to be a lot worse than anyone previously thought. The president says it will not cost the middle class one dime. It has already cost me about 200 per month and isn't even being used yet. Unless you are a freeloader you will pay dearly. the president is delaying the implimentation of part of law until after the elections because he knows as soon as everyone realizes they are being screwed they wont vote for his party.

    July 18, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. Pete

    If republicans put as much enthuiasism behind passing jobs,infastructure bills helping America and its people as obstructing,filibustering those same laws plus trying over 38 times unsucessfully to repeal the ACA bill we'd be a better America wouldn't we!!Try for once republicans in doing something right for America and its people because as far as I'm concerned you've done nothing right by what I've have seen since Pres.Obamas inaugeration,right!!And republicans the ACA bill was approved by the SCOTUS with justice Roberts blessing so grow up and do your job or resign the latter would be better for you if I were you!!

    July 18, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  6. Just Me

    The new health care law is the law.... yes, established by Obama and the Democrat majority.... and guess who broke his own law????? OBAMA... but only in favor of big businesses – so guess who said, HEY WAIT, if you're delaying for big business then you better do it for the people too... So how in the world can you conclude that the GOP is against the people? People need to just try a little bit to see things from the other side of the story – just a little bit – take your own biases and emotion out of it and look at it from a different angle... The situation is what you believe it to be...so take off the blinders and look at the facts. Who is really for the people? Honestly, I don't believe either party is in it for YOU...

    July 18, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. Chris

    Obama to tout ObamaCare's successes to the middle class...LOL! Successes? I am pretty sure I saw my premiums sky rocket! Glad he could find another way to redistribute wealth. Taking money out of my pocket and ensuring that another person gets covered. Or does he plan to take all those fines collected by people who are covered and give them back to me?

    July 18, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  8. Stephen

    To the folks here who think that the Republicans should stop trying to repeal Obamacare and focus instead on creating jobs......: That's exactly what they are TRYING to do, focus on creating jobs with the repeal of Obamacare! Obamacare as recognized by many business leaders, as well as now by Federal Reserve economists is the BIGGEST DRAG on job creation! Folks, the recession ended 4 YEARS AGO, so what is Obama's excuse on why we still have historically high unemployment and UNDEREMPLOYMENT? Companies are generally hiring only PART-TIME workers due to this travesty of Law. This is evidenced by the huge uptick in the creation of part-time jobs at the stage of a recovery when we should instead be seeing many millions of FULL-TIME jobs created. This is a faux jobs recovery, and the Republicans are just trying to remove the biggest road block in that recovery: Obamacare!

    July 18, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  9. John Richard

    Let's see. They passed a bill delaying the employer mandate, which the administration has already said it planned to do.
    Neither bill stands a chance of getting by the Senate nor the White House. They should next tackle the issue of protecting the "Buggy Whip" industry which has been decimated by the advent of the automobile, albeit over a hundred years ago. When are these morons going to get about the business of doing their jobs, i.e. solving the pressing issues facing this nation as we slowly become a second rate nation in the eyes of the rest of the world. We need to invest in education and innovation. We need our century old infrastructure repaired and replaced. We need jobs for our children's generation.

    July 18, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  10. geggyg

    If Pres Obama has supposedly broken the law why haven't the Repubs in Congress of their backers outside ( say the Koch brothers) taken him to court to force him to roll out the PPACA in its entirety.
    Probably because he has , govts around the when the pass a big new law/program they generally have a clause in the law that allow sections of the law to be delayed . Im pretty sure the PPACA would have such a clause .
    Here in Australia govts , both Labor and Liberal(conservatives ) have used this tactic many times with complicated programs . The last time was 2 years ago when the Labor govt enacted the Carbon Tax , as the start date got closer several sections were delayed because some industries hadn't been able to import enough of appropriate technology to upgrade equipment , and in another case the detailed modelling of carbon sequestration of soil and trees was not completed on time , either were figures for carbon emissions for various farming practices ( grazing animals aren't included ) due to much of the monitoring equipment on farms being damaged or lost due to floods and bushfires all down east coast of Australia from near the end of 2010 and the first few months of 2011.

    July 18, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. Obamacare is poorly conceived

    Really – this bill is such a pooch that it needs to get put down. Whyare we even entertaining this disastrous piece of legislation when the economy has been run into the ground?

    July 18, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. ProtectAmericanJobs

    I didn't vote for President Obama, but at least he had the balls to take on the healthcare insurance issue in the first place – Although it would have been better if they could have worked together to come up with a better plan.

    I don't care which side fixes it – Just fix it.

    Something had to be done about the ridiculously high health insurance premiums that are being paid by employers and their employees. Both of whom are paying an unfair share of the burden of costs for the uninsured, who's healthcare costs are averaged in to the hospital's and healthcare provider's costs and then passed onto the insurance companies premiums, plus Medicaid and Medicare. I run a business that employs 21 employees and our premiums were going up anywhere from 18-34% every year for the 12 years before they finally started trying to address this issue. Something's got to be done, but let's get it right.

    Wouldn't it be More Productive if Our Elected Leaders Started Working Together as AMERICANS for AMERICANS and AMERICA, instead of just bickering, stalling and posturing for the next election as democrats and republicans! The American People have had it with this unproductive BS!

    July 18, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  13. tpaine1

    Not to worry, just like with the 18 bi-partisan "jobs bills," Harry Reid won't allow a vote in the Senate because he knows it would pass!!

    July 18, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  14. Mike Trottier

    Republicans are scared to death of this bill,......when Americans, All Americans see what this bill is going to do, Republicans will never see the White House AGAIN, I think that's what they are really afraid of

    July 18, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  15. Joshua

    The ignorance here is amazing. First off, just because something is law doesn't mean it's right (see the Jim Crow Laws). Second, the House did not repeal Obamacare they are trying to put into law what the President wanted to do and provide a year reprieve on business (per the suggestion of the Treasury Department) they also add a reprieve for all of us too. Giving us all one year to figure out if our employer will provide healthcare for us also (I'm a contractor and currently have to provide my own). If the law goes into effect I will have to still provide my own but my employer will not have to do anything for another year. Now I'm young and really don't feel I need the level of care that is required at this point so it's going to increase my cost (I've already looked into this and my cost is going to go up a little under $100 a month). Now I know that might not seem like a lot to some people, but to me it's the difference between making a bill payment or not. If we are going to force this law down the throats of the American people let at least do it evenly and give the normal person the same ability to get items in order as you are giving businesses. Let's stop providing business an escape but leaving the American tax payer on the hook

    July 18, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  16. moderateGuy

    Let's get something straight. The White House does not have the authority to postpone duly passed Congressional legislation. Only Congress can do that. Not that such detail like the US Constitution matters to the criminals infesting the White House.

    July 18, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  17. Ken Kner

    Actually, this is a very astute strategic move. If it gets voted on in the Senate and passes, and the President vetoes it, the law must be implemented as written. If the Senate does not bring it up for a vote, they will be caught at obstructing what the President was trying to do.

    July 18, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. Kent Atwood

    This continued attack by the GOP on personal responsibility baffles me. When people opt out of health insurance and get sick the taxpayer always pays.

    Next election send a message and repeal the house representatives.

    July 18, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  19. Aerin

    Throw republicans out on their ears EVERYWHERE at the state and local level too.

    THEY ARE OBSOLETE.

    July 18, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  20. bcrunner

    Gee!! One day we hear that New York will see their healthcare costs drop by as much as 50% and the next day congress passes a bill that will prevent a drop to their costs... real smart!!!

    July 18, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. RandyIA

    Kent Atwood

    This continued attack by the GOP on personal responsibility baffles me. When people opt out of health insurance and get sick the taxpayer always pays.
    ==========================================================
    That makes no sense. Obamacare is the exact opposite of personal responsibility. Forced by government to buy a product, eliminates personal responsibility. Personal responsibility is having insurance or paying out of pocket, tax payers only take a direct hit now because of Obamacare. Keep in mind everyone that Obamacare is not a healthcare overhaul, it's a health insurance overhaul. It's not about the care, it's about the money.

    July 18, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. Vince

    Oh look....more bills that won't get signed and will go nowhere. Way to keep moving forward GOP House!

    July 18, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  23. bcrunner

    @RandyIA: Wait, where is the personal responsibility when you get sick don't have health insruance, and you make me pay for your hospital bill? I want you to go out and buy insurance so I don't have to pay for you! Get it???

    July 18, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  24. beachgalone

    ok. so delay the individual mandate. But, don't delay the waiver for pre existing conditions. Sick people need health insurance and can't get coverage. They stopped the PCIP program due to the reform.
    Both parties want coverage for those who can't get it.

    July 18, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  25. Blindbob

    I'm no fan of this, but for those of us who were born before yesterday, insurance premiums were sky rocketing long before Obamacare. Something had to be done – At least Obama was able to see that, even if his solution doesn't fix anything.

    Republicans would rather do nothing at all, just pretend that the problem does not exist. Pathetic.

    July 18, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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