February 11th, 2014
02:28 PM ET
8 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. tom l

    ACA is law. Why can't Obama just listen to Gurgyl? Why does Obama get to choose what parts to enforce? Gurgyl keeps telling us that ACA is law.

    February 11, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. just saying

    Obama said his administration was responding to the central question: "How do con the American people into thinking it is working until we lie oour way through another election."

    FIFY

    February 11, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. Donna

    "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.
    ---

    So come clean Obama. What are these difficulties that are causing you to violate your oath of office to faithfully execute the laws of this nation? The American people have a right to know why you are doing this. Of course we all know it is for purely political reasons but we are ready to hear your lies.

    February 11, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  4. rs

    Be real. The GOP is going to try to gin up their hatred machine using "obamacare", of that there was little doubt.
    I wish them luck. 10 million people enrolled- most either first-time health insurance holders, or those who had to get it because they were either dropped by their employer or their previous carrier. The inconvenient truth for the GOP is most got a good deal( and hence the reason the GOP encourages people to work directly with insurance companies for coverage- they don't get the ACA benefit discounted premiums- and hence a "bad deal").

    Let the GOP run with how evil health insurance is, or why it makes more sense for people to just use ERs, or that "Obamacare" is "socialism". Only fools buy that.

    February 11, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. Gurgyl

    Not at all an issue. It getting them on track, preparing companies to obey the Law. Law does not go any where. These companies have cover tomorrow, if not today. This is all GOP garbage.

    February 11, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. 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?

    February 11, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. Reggie53

    If this Obamacare act was so good for the American people then why does Obama keep delaying it? This Obamacare is a joke and needs to be repealed. It is the worst thing that could ever happen to the country and people because it is a loser just like its namesake..........Time for it and him to go!!!!!!!!!

    February 11, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Good. If this means that Republicans will spend another year or three lighting their hair on fire over "Obamacare", then I am all for it. Give them all of the rope that they can stand. They'll be most grateful for it.

    February 11, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. rs

    tom l

    ACA is law. Why can't Obama just listen to Gurgyl? Why does Obama get to choose what parts to enforce? Gurgyl keeps telling us that ACA is law.
    ________________________
    Ever hear of the Code of Federal Regulations?

    February 11, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    Where is the republican alternative? Better yet Speaker Boehner, why aren't republicans trying to improve the law?

    February 11, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  11. spike

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

    February 11, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  12. rs

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

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

    February 11, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. 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.

    February 11, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. Powerfail

    Obama is a joke of a president. His signature accomplishment is quite fittingly also a joke. Can't wait to have ANYONE ELSE AT ALL as our next president. Actually, no president would be an improvement over the clown.

    February 11, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  15. 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.

    "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."

    Once again, some dipwad GOPer/Teatroll is pretending and selling the inaccuracy that the employer mandate and the individual mandate are analogous, have something to do with one another and are similarly subject to extensions without fundamentally damaging the ACA and its implementation. None of those things are even remotely true, but CNN and the GOP/Teatrolls don't want you to understand that.

    February 11, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    " Why does Obama get to choose what parts to enforce? "

    Until you can brief the relevant SCOTUS case law on the subject, please stop pretending you understand the issue and that the GOP/Teatrolls' nonsense talking points have merit.

    February 11, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. Tommy G

    Please recall that just a few months ago that Obama and the Democrats REFUSED to change Obamacare in any way and shut down the government to show they were serious. It appears that the leftists dictator in the White House is the only person in the country that is allowed to change the law.

    I hope the Republicams take the Senate and hold the House in November so we can start impeachment of this very dangerous dictator. Obama has been a nightmare for this country in so many ways. Democrats are going to feel the pain in November because of Obama's irresponsbile actions.

    February 11, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  18. Tampa Tim

    I wonder if any of the 8 million living in red states, who have been denied Medicaid by the republican leadership have friends that will vote against the GOP. I wonder if any of the 45 million uninsured have friends will vote against republicans. I wonder if friends of 11 million immigrants will vote against republicans. I also wonder if the unemployed have friends who would be willing to vote against the GOP. Seniors, veterans, students, the poor, and the American worker may also have friends who will stand up against the republicans.

    February 11, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  19. Denise

    Powerfail – Relax dittohead, just a few more years with Barack and then Hilary! Rush will need even more donuts, drugs and women...

    February 11, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  20. Denise

    Republican president? Not anytime soon......

    February 11, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  21. Tampa Tim

    A joke would not already have over 10 million who were uninsured to now have insurance. The sad joke is the party who has no plan to help Americans, the GOBaggers.

    February 11, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  22. Silence DoGood

    @spike
    Welcome to the dictatorship, where 1 man can make laws, change laws, or choose to not enforce laws.
    --------–
    I know Obama is just what you say. He had the nerve to propose this then get it voted on in Congress then vetted by the Supreme court of all things! Oh wait, that is how our country works.

    February 11, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  23. Silence DoGood

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

    Do y'all get why we think you guys have zero credibility?
    ----------–
    My personal favorite: Obama has done nothing and he is a total control dictator.

    February 11, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  24. smith

    This is all about the 2014 mid-term elections. The dems can`t afford to have the outrage that we saw in Nov. 2013.

    February 11, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    I thought American businesses were the best in the world, the most agile, the most motivated, the most successful! President Obama should not have done this – he is just getting suckered by the repub/tea bags who only want to harm our country and blame him.

    February 11, 2014 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
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