House Republicans want answers on Obamacare delay

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
Font Size:

WASHINGTON — House Republicans are demanding answers from the Obama administration about the delay in the implementation of parts of Obamacare, decrying the move as the White House picking winners and losers by making only certain people abide by the new law.

The White House announced last week that it would delay the implementation of the employer mandate, which would impose a penalty on employers that do not give their employees health insurance. Implementation of that part of the law was set to begin later this year, but will now be postponed until 2015, after the midterm elections.

Republicans adamantly oppose the new law as a whole. But delaying parts of it, the GOP leadership said at a press conference Tuesday morning, is almost as bad as implementing all of it.

“I think what the president did is outrageous,” Speaker of the House John Boehner said Tuesday.

He accused the administration of favoring big corporations over small businesses and individuals, who will still have to comply by the new law.

“The idea that we’re gonna give big businesses a break under Obamacare but we’re gonna punish small businesses and families? It’s wrong,” Boehner said.

The Oversight and Investigations subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee announced a hearing on the delay for next Thursday.

“Time and again, administration officials testified before our committee that all is well and the roll out of the Affordable Care Act is proceeding as planned, but the missed deadlines and ongoing delays tell a much different story. Our oversight work has revealed countless flaws and fumbles and now the recent decisions to delay the employer mandate and scrap income verification rules for an ‘honor system’ is further proof this law is not ready for prime time,” said Subcommittee Chair Tim Murphy in a statement.

“We will continue aggressive oversight of the Affordable Care Act because, as our recent Rate Shock report revealed, this law is not affordable and won’t deliver the health care Americans need.”

House Republican leadership and committee chairs sent a letter to President Barack Obama Tuesday morning demanding justification for the delay, saying that while they agree that the implementation timeline is not workable, that they do not believe time will remedy the greater issues with the law.

The letter requests a variety of data about the impact of the delay. It also asks that the White House “provide to Congress your justification for only delaying the employer mandate at this time and not the new mandate on individuals and families.”

“We agree with you that the burden was overwhelming for employers, but we also believe American families need the same relief,” the letter continues.

Leadership implied that a bill to give that “relief” to families and individuals would come later this month.

“[W]e’ll have another vote,” Boehner said at the press conference. “Count on it.”

Follow Alexis on Twitter