Republican lawmakers took the Obama administration to task Tuesday, following the revelation — first reported by The New York Times — that officials have delayed implementation of the Obamacare caps on patient out-of-pocket costs.
Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who has a key member of a group of GOP lawmakers threatening to hold up upcoming spending bills funding Obamacare, slammed the decision as “a desperate and shameful political move” and again argued for defunding the law.
“The best way to delay Obamacare is to defund it,” he said in a statement. “Once Congress returns from the August work period, the House should act quickly to pass a continuing resolution that funds the government, but not Obamacare.”
According to Lee’s office, while the caps on patient out-of-pocket expenses were advertised as a cost-saver, they have also been leading to premium increases.
House Speaker John Boehner called the report “the latest evidence that the law is too costly and too complex to work – and that it’s not being implemented fairly.” He also cited his concerns that the delay was not noticed online for some six months due to what the New York Times described as “maze of legal and bureaucratic language.”
“Almost as troubling as the continued failures of the law’s implementation is the lack of transparency,” he said in a statement. “Burying this announcement online in a ‘maze of legal and bureaucratic language’ shows little concern for the promises with which this law was sold. What else in the law isn’t working that we don’t yet know about?”
Boehner added that the Senate should take up the House-passed individual mandate delay when it returns from August recess.
Tennessee Republican Rep. Diane Black asked, given the recent hiccups in implementation, “What will it take for the President to admit that this law is failing and needs to be stopped?”
Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Price tweeted “Another day, another #Obamacare delay. Let’s #RepealsndReplace this unworkable train wreck.”
Indiana Republican Rep. Marlin Stutzman — the first House member to say he would oppose a continuing resolution that funds Obamacare — voiced a similar sentiment saying that a delay is not what is needed, but rather Congress must defund the law.
“President Obama has already delayed the employer mandate and anti-fraud protections but this latest arbitrary delay isn’t going to change the fact that ObamaCare is hurting hardworking families,” Stutzman said. “Folks back home don’t need another Washington delay, they need permanent relief.”
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who has been working with Lee and others to block Obamacare funding, tweeted out a story about the delay saying “More delays for big corporations while hardworking Americans are forced to face brunt of Obamacare,” adding the hashtag “#DontFundIt.”
Another part of the defund effort on the Senate side, Republican Marco Rubio, tweeted “Another morning, another #obamacare delay,” linking to the New York Times report.
At a press conference last week, President Obama said Republicans opposing his signature health care law wanted to deprive 30 million people of health care due to an “ideological fixation,” and explained that with any big initiative there will be “glitches.”
“So you will be able to, whenever you want during the course of the next six months and probably the next year, find occasions where you say, ah-ha, you know what, that could have been done a little bit better. Or that thing, they’re kind of making an administrative change; that’s now how it was originally thought this thing was going to work,” Obama said.
“Yes, exactly,” He added. “Because our goal is to actually deliver high-quality, affordable health care for people and to reform the system so costs start going down and people start getting a better bang for the buck. And I make no apologies for that.”
The administration’s decision delays the implementation of the caps until 2015.