Since its passage, Obamacare has served as an ever-evolving example of cronyist public policy in the era of unrestrained bureaucracy and a dominant K Street. The approach is straightforward: you pass a law which creates burdens on everyone under the guise of solving a problem, and then you pick and choose who actually has to abide by the law in practice. Policymaking becomes the business of traded favors with lobbyists and stakeholders, and whoever can extract favors and waivers the best. It doesn’t matter that the law put the date of implementation in stark terms.
Kathleen Sebelius’s HHS has used the wide latitude granted them under the law to hand out favorable treatment, twist the arms of the unwilling, and come down like a ton of bricks on their political enemies. The employer mandate delay is the most public example of this — a reminder that employers have better lobbyists than individuals, and that no matter what Congress says, we live in an era of rule by the regulators who always know what’s best.