Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Yes we can....wait

About 18 months after the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was passed, Donald Berwick, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, extolled the virtues of this alleged landmark legislation. Contained in the title of his post was the phrase "We Can't Wait." Just a month earlier, the Obama administration launched a policy initiative using said phrase. The mindset was Obama didn't have the patience to wait on that scurrilous Congress to pass legislation, so he figured he'd hand down some executive orders, thus bypassing the legislative process. Sounds more like a Ruler as opposed to a President, eh?

But I digress.

Anyhow, the full effect of the Obamacare law was to kick in on January 1, 2014. But guess what? Turns out we can wait.

The Obama administration announced Tuesday it is delaying until 2015 the requirement that businesses with more than 50 employees provide health insurance to their workers or pay a penalty.

The announcement by the Internal Revenue Service comes after numerous complaints from businesses that the requirements were too complicated and difficult to implement in time.

Business groups, such as the National Retail Federation, praised the delay, while congressional Republicans jumped on the move to reiterate their opposition to the 2010 health care law.
If you recall, the GOP made tremendous inroads in the 2010 midterm elections, regaining control of the House and attaining a 6-seat gain in the US Senate (However, they were still the minority party in the Senate, 53-47). The idea for the 2014 midterms was that the ACA law would have been proven to be the utter disaster that has been projected, thus allowing the Republicans to use that fact to maintain the House majority and possibly regain the US Senate (Dems currently have the majority, 55-45). So could this implementation delay help the Democrats' election prospects next year? Given that a hot button issue like immigration reform is making its way through Congress, I have a feeling that may be a bigger focus. However, I believe the GOP could still exploit the O-care implementation delay. The fact that small businesses, arguably the lifeblood of our economy, are up in arms over the complexities of such a monstrous law should serve as a cautionary tale. And it wouldn't be as though Republicans would be "bandwagoning" given none of them have ever conveyed even tepid support for Obamacare.

At the very least, if Republicans can't exploit the declining popularity of Obama himself, then all that other stuff matters little.


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