Another day, another Obamacare
delay. Once again, the employer mandate, which in theory requires
businesses with 50 or more employees to provide qualifying health
coverage for employees, is the target.
Las summer, the administration put the requirement on hold for
an extra year. Now it’s tweaking the provision even further.
Businesses with between 50 and 99 employees will not be subject to
the employer mandate until 2016. The administration says it will
require employers participating in the delay to
certify that they aren’t cutting back on jobs strictly to fall
under the 100-employee threshold.
The administration is also tweaking the coverage rules for
larger businesses. Employers with 100 or more employees will now
only have to provide coverage for 70 percent of their workers
through 2016. Previously, those firms had been required to give
coverage to 95 percent of their workers to meet the
Where does the White House get the authority to tweak and delay
the rules like this? I’m not sure how much the administration
actually cares at this point, but I suspect it derives at least
partly from the—whoalookablimpbehindyougottarun!
To some extent this is just one of the many perils of attempting
to make a law as complex and controversial as Obamacare work. The
administration is attempting to please employers who don’t like the
requirement and mitigate some of the potential economic
destabilization that could come with the requirement. It’s a
political move as much as anything. But it could further undermine
the law’s already shaky policy foundations. As Obamacare’s
supporters argued before the law was passed, the employer mandate
one of the key mechanisms the law relies on to keep costs down and
coverage up. But the administration has now twice weakened that
mechanism. (And at this point, you have to wonder if there aren’t
more tweaks to the provision coming down the line.)
At the same time, the administration’s pick-and-choose approach
to implementation has destabilized the law politically.
Because the Obama administration won’t be running the show forever.
And future administrations, which might not be so sympathetic to
the law or so tied to its fortunes, are likely to take advantage of
the flexibility the Obama administration has made for itself here.
Gobry might be overstating the case a little bit when he
writes at Forbes that President Obama is “giving
conservatives all the tools they need to transform the country.”
But with legally dubious moves like this, the Obama administration
is almost certainly setting a precedent that will eventually come
back to haunt Democrats.
from Hit & Run http://ift.tt/1eQlgjC