by Katherine Restrepo
Director of Health Care Policy, John Locke Foundation
…Until Obamacare begins – by law. But the Obama Administration may break its own law again by having to delay the individual mandate that is scheduled to go live on January 1, 2014. At this point, it is no surprise that the individual exchanges will not be set up in time. The administration has already postponed the employer mandate along with the SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) exchanges until 2015.
Today’s Wall Street Journal reports an excellent article on the various issues the feds face to properly implement the federal health insurance exchanges in a timely manner.
Meanwhile, the New York Times highlights that Republicans will play the Obamacare “flexibility” game by gaining momentum to delay the individual mandate. The Times writes:
Some Democrats were also dismayed by the White House’s actions. Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and an author of the health law, questioned whether Mr. Obama had the authority to unilaterally delay the employer mandate.
“This was the law. How can they change the law?” he asked.
For its part, the White House continued to look flat-footed on the issue. After an almost surreptitious evening announcement of the delay last week, posted on the Treasury Department’s Web site, the White House is declining to send a representative to a House hearing on the decision that is scheduled for Wednesday. An administration official might testify next week.
In the postponement of the employer mandate, Republicans see an opportunity to sound a populist alarm against a health care law that many Americans remain uncertain about.