February 11th, 2014
02:28 PM ET
9 months ago

New delay ensures Obamacare to be issue in 2014, 2016 elections

(CNN) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday defended his administration's latest decision to delay an aspect of the Affordable Care Act, saying the move was about "smoothing out" the health care law's rocky implementation.

Obama acknowledged that "challenges" exist in implementing the massive Affordable Care Act. During a joint news conference Tuesday with French President François Hollande, Obama said his administration was responding to the central question: "How do we make it work for the American people and for their employees in an optimal way?"

Republicans, however, didn’t waste any time or mince any words after the Obama administration announced the latest implementation delay in the health care law.

"Once again, the President is giving a break to corporations, while individuals and families are still stuck under the mandates of his health care law. And, once again, the President is rewriting law on a whim," House Speaker John Boehner said.

Boehner's statement came shortly after the Treasury Department announced Monday that small businesses with 50 to 99 employees have until 2016 to comply with the mandate they provide health insurance for employees or face a fine. It's the second one-year delay for small businesses. In addition, employees with more than 99 employees have to cover 70% of employees in 2015, easing the previous mandate of 95%.

The phasing in of the employer mandate is designed to make "the compliance process simpler and easier to navigate," said Mark J. Mazur, assistant secretary for tax policy.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the House Republican Conference chair, said the delay is "yet another sign that the law simply isn't working."

This week's delay is just one of several in the health care law's implementation. After the controversy over Obama's pledge that if people liked their health insurance they could keep it, the administration announced late last year that noncompliant plans could continue for an additional year.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor called the timing of the new delay suspicious.

"The administration has stressed this week that Congress can trust the President to enforce the law, and then once again, he selectively delays parts of Obamacare in order to put off more negative consequences until after Election Day," said Cantor, the No. 2 House Republican.

The GOP's forceful attacks on the Affordable Care Act will be a central theme in this year's midterm elections.

Midterm contests are traditionally base elections, and it's safe to say the conservative base of the Republican Party hates Obamacare. Three-quarters of Republicans questioned in an ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted last month said they opposed the health care law, with 21% supportive of the measure. Support edged down to 19% among conservative Republicans.

Attacks on the health care law play well with House conservatives who are more worried about a primary challenge from the right than any Democrat in the general election. And they play well in red and purple states, where the GOP is eyeing vulnerable Democratic Senate seats this November.

Politics aside, Henry Aaron, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, called the latest delay "prudent."

"It's clear there have been major difficulties and not all of them have yet been solved," Aaron said, referring to previous implementation delays and the botched rollout of the exchanges in October.

This postponement allows the administration to "move ahead in a way that gives administrators a chance to deal with problems," he said.

But prudence comes with political risks.

Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report, said the latest move will "keep the law - and the controversy surrounding it - front and center as November approaches."

"Every hiccup in the enactment in ACA gives Republicans another opportunity to criticize the law and the Obama administration," he said.

The timing might not be politically practical for Democrats for another reason. The small business requirement is set to go into effect at the beginning of 2016, just as presidential primaries and caucuses get under way, potentially drawing negative attention to Democratic candidates for the White House.

The irony is that the more parts of the Affordable Care Act are delayed, the closer the law is to not being fully enacted - Republicans' objective.


Filed under: 2014 • 2016 • Obamacare • President Obama
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    @spike: "Welcome to the dictatorship, where 1 man can make laws, change laws, or choose to not enforce laws."

    Google gw bush signing statements and then get back to us.

    February 11, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    spike

    Welcome to the dictatorship, where 1 man can make laws, change laws, or choose to not enforce laws.
    -------------------------
    You must be talking about Sheriff Joe in Arizona. There are several sheriffs who don't enforce their state's gun laws.

    February 11, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. Dean

    Realize that this law was never designed to work. It is merely a stepping stone on the way to a single-payer, socialist system.

    February 11, 2014 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. Gurgyl

    The most pathetic is GOP does not have any one for WH–all bunch of idiots, fools, clowns, thus ends the story.

    February 11, 2014 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. robert

    I wish members of congress would grow a pair and impeach this president – who cares if he's african american/caucasion.....I keep hearing all politicians that "we are a nation of laws"....well, if this president is breaking the law.......TAKE ACTION! oh, wait, i see now......no one wants to be "branded" a "raciast"....because believe you me......anyone who disagrees with this president is and will be branded a RACIAST! Unforntunate....that's right....use the race card......helps everytime.

    February 11, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  6. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    spike

    Welcome to the dictatorship, where 1 man can make laws, change laws, or choose to not enforce laws.
    ---------
    You must be talking about Sheriff Joe in Arizona. There are several sheriffs who don't enforce their state's gun laws.
    --------
    Comparing the actions of a county sheriff to that of the POTUS is one hell of a deflection, even for you.

    February 11, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Sniffit

    This is a bit of a false positive in terms of this particularly bobblehead's "analysis." The ACA was going to be an issue in 2014 and 2016 regardless of the extensions granted. Period. This is just another fluff piece designed to present another opportunity for ranting and raving and perpetuate a nontroversy.
    --------------------------–
    Yeah, but..... Facts show that the more they rant, the more ground that Democrats gain in the House and Senate.

    February 11, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    ""Delay Obamacare" screams the Right.
    Now it's "don't delay Obamacare!""
    ===

    To be fair, it's more like: "Delay it the way we tell you to, you uppity n-bomb, because our way is specifically designed to undermine and destroy the ACA."

    February 11, 2014 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. Tampa Dim

    If it weren't for these riduculous WINGNUT BAGGERS then this country would all be smiles, sunshine with no issues pushing forth the glorious progressive agenda! Vote out the WINGNUT BAGGERS!!

    February 11, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. mctopdog

    Welcome to the dictatorship, where 1 man can make laws, change laws, or choose to not enforce laws.
    ---------
    You must be talking about Sheriff Joe in Arizona. There are several sheriffs who don't enforce their state's gun laws.

    Yep, guess what – with 29 republican governors taking note of Ob*zo's lawlessness I imagine they may just act the same – there don't seem to be any consequences – let's just ALL do as WE please – I don't like Ob*zocare, so I won't sign up and I won't pay the IRS – how's that sound? Of course there are a myriad of lawsuits being filed over all this – I imagine the whole bogus concept is going to fall apart sooner rather than later

    February 11, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. Denise

    Ensures issues in the upcoming elections? Am I missing something or was Obama re-elected on this issue when he ran against the clown, Mitt, who came up with the plan to begin with?

    February 11, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  12. Denise

    How's those socialist programs like Medicare and social security working for you tea baggers?

    February 11, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  13. just asking

    Tampa Tim
    A joke would not already have over 10 million who were uninsured to now have insurance.
    --

    you do realize you are repeating a four pinocchio lie right? no where near 10 million people have gotten coverage because of obamacare. are lies all you and obama got?

    February 11, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. The REAL Truth...

    @robert – ranting about things you know nothing about will not change what is currently a legal process. The POTUS cannot change laws, but he CAN delay implementation of laws passed by Congress. If you take issue with it, reach out to your GOP/TP rep in DC and ask them to change the laws.. the laws that give ANY POTUS the authority to do this. Bobby Jindal was right.. so was Glenn Beck.

    February 11, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. Mike

    The law was meant to fail so everyone is buying health insurance through the Government. People need to wake up!

    February 11, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  16. The REAL Truth...

    @Fair is Fair -
    Rudy NYC

    spike

    Welcome to the dictatorship, where 1 man can make laws, change laws, or choose to not enforce laws.
    ---
    You must be talking about Sheriff Joe in Arizona. There are several sheriffs who don't enforce their state's gun laws.
    --–
    Comparing the actions of a county sheriff to that of the POTUS is one hell of a deflection, even for you.
    --------------------
    What difference does it make? Ta-da!! Bada-bing.. [snare hit]

    February 11, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. Patrick

    "Delay Obamacare" screams the Right.
    Now it's "don't delay Obamacare!"

    Do y'all get why we think you guys have zero credibility?

    --

    Each side says the opposite of the other. Welcome to POlitics.

    You also left out that when republicans were saying to delay it the democrats and Obama said no. Then Obama does exactly that.

    If anyone thinks that all the changes are not to help keep democrats in off you had better wake up. When (if at this rate) the ACA goes into effect, the voter population who is working will be in an uproar and want blood. Then again with changes on the working front, getting as many people as possible to not work looks like another Obama plan.

    February 11, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  18. Tampa Tim

    Like most Americans, I tolerate the right wingnut hatred, but like most Americans, I don't think a right wingnut should be in position of leadership.

    February 11, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. Tommy G

    Dean
    Realize that this law was never designed to work. It is merely a stepping stone on the way to a single-payer, socialist system.
    ---

    It is working as designed. It is a poison pill to the current healthcare system. Designed to cause massive confusion, pain, expense and devastation to the point that people demand a single payer system, aka a government takeover. Remember, never let any crisis be wasted. Sometimes, the leftists just create one when they need one.

    February 11, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    -just asking

    O'drama ya Mama
    Republicans say the law is flawed yet if Obama tries to fix the flaws Republicans also scream and shout. Is there no end?
    -

    so can obama and the democrats please disclose all of these flaws to the american people? the american people have a right to know what the heck is going on!

    obama has unilaterally chnaged or delayed this 'law' 27 times now. what is being implemented is not what was passed by congress. it is some perverted politicized mutation of what was passed. before obama, we used to live in a country where laws actually meant something. he has shown they mean nothing.

    i sure do hope the democrats are prepared to live under the very same rules should a republican president be elected. of course you are not and will scream bloody murder when these very same things are done.
    ************
    I guess you had your one rational thought of the month earlier today. I guess you never heard of the idea of adapting the implementation of the law to the actual circumstances, asopposed to changing the circumstances to fir the law. Of course not. ALL conservagtive pieces of legislation have been implemented falwlessly: there's Medicare Part D, oh wait, that had problems: there's No Child Left Behind-ooops, sorry, not good either. Patriot Act? The only law that turned hawks into Civil Libertarians once the GOP got booted from the WH. He has the authority, and since the House lacks the will to do anything to make health insurance more affordable, he chose to act. Its called leadership, something the GOP can barely spell, much less fathom.

    February 11, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. bobo

    As Obama himself said..... " I can do whatever I want."

    you know what I say? Impeach the sob...

    February 11, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. Bill, Bloominton IL

    Where is the surprise here? King Obama just said he can whatever he wants when he wants. Liberals everywhere will ignore what he says. I can here it now "He Mispoke" " He could have said this better"

    February 11, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. VTGUY

    You wanted a community organizer, you got a community organizer... but when will America finally get a real President?

    February 11, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. Truth

    If Obamacare is so good, why would Obama delay the Employer Mandate? Could it be because he doesn't want problems to impact the elections?

    February 11, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  25. sly

    Let's see – the TeaKlan position is:

    "50 Million Americans should be BANNED from obtaining health care, at all costs".

    Fairly unbelievable that there are a few Americans left in the GOP TeaKlan Party that actually WANT to prevent US War Veterans with injuries and school teachers to be BANNED from health care, so the rich PharmaDrug companies can make their trillions.

    Wow ... the GOP is one sick party of very mean individuals. Thank God Jesus Himself that they have only 15% of the vote now-a-days.

    February 11, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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