The Republican-led House have decided earlier in the day to delay core provisions of Obamacare, emboldened by the administration’s concessionarguing that coverage which should have been provided by companies for their workers next year may be too complicated.
A day after heated debates and discussions, the House voted largely along party lines, 264-161, to delay for one year the so-called employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
“It voted 251-174 to extend a similar grace period to virtually all Americans who will be required to obtain coverage beginning Jan. 1, the linchpin of the law,” The Huffington Post reports.
“The dual political-show votes marked the 38th time the GOP majority has tried to eliminate, defund or scale back the unpopular law since Republicans took control of the House in January 2011. The House legislation stands no chance in the Democratic-run Senate,” the publication adds.
The legislation stopped well short of previous efforts to fully repeal President’s Obama health care law, but gave Republicans one more chance to vent their frustration at the legislation and discredit it as the state-run insurance exchanges prepare to open in October.
“The delay of the employer mandate is the latest confirmation of the fatally flawed nature of Obamacare and the need to dismantle it,” said Rep. John Kline, a Republican from Minnesota. “It isn’t right to deny American families the same relief available to American businesses.”
Some Democrats described the results of the Wednesday’s voting as another political sideshow consuming the House’s time and efforts.
They pointed to new health insurance pricing information released by NY Governor Andrew Cuomo as evidence that the law, if passed, will reduce coverage costs.
Cuomo’s report showed that state residents who are believed to buy health insurance next year will most likely see their premiums cut by half, Reuters writes.
“What we’re hearing right now is the sound of Republican heart rates going up: Obamacare is coming,” said Representative Jim McDermott, a Democrat from Washington state.
“These last benefits are going to happen – like it or not – and worse, they’re going to work,” the politician added.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Republicans were simply trying “to refight old battles than have been fought.”
Carney went on, adding that the U.S. president is scheduled to draw attention to the 8.5 million consumers who have received an average consumer rebate of about $100.
The White House spokesperson also highlighted reports that some parts of the country are already anticipating lower premiums under the Affordable Care Act.
“Competition and transparency in the marketplaces, plus the hard effort by those committed to making the law work, are leading to affordable, new and better choices for families,” Carney said.
Meanwhile, Treasury Department health policy adviser Mark Iwry said that the delay of the requirement for companies to pay the coverage was in keeping with the agency’s longstanding legal authority to smooth the implementation of complicated new tax laws.
“On a number of prior occasions across administrations, this authority has been used to postpone the application of new legislation when immediate application would have subjected taxpayers to unreasonable administrative burdens or costs,” Iwry said.
He also cited a number of examples, from small business legislation to a tax on aviation fuel.