Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Obamacare Delay of Employer Mandate

Obamacare Takes a Giant Step Backwards – and Sideways
This morning, when I read the Obama administration had delayed the employer mandate until 2015,  I thought immediately  of this statement by Mitch Daniels.
Obamacare) will likely be a nightmare of missed deadlines, public confusion, inconsistent exceptions, and dashed expectations. Every claim made for the bill will be shown to be false: health costs will go up, not down; government spending and debt will go up, not down; the economy will be injured, not benefited; people in the millions will in fact lose their health insurance they have and like.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, speaking to a conference of the William S. Buckley, Jr, program at Yale, November 3, 2012
Then I recalled this was a second major delay  The first delay came recently when Obama suspended a provision of the law, again until 2015, that would have provided employers and workers a choice of health plans.
These delays  may bode ill for upcoming October 1, 2013 sign-ups for  health exchanges, which will depend heavily on signing up the  young and healthy “invincibles” persuading them  that Obamacare is worth the price of signing up,   paying two to three times their current premiums,  or,  if uninsured paying the penalty for not doing so.  Will that sign-up be delayed too because of federal and state governments are not ready  to implement the exchanges.
Are these delays  a step backward – a potential fatal blow to Obamacare?   Will it embolden Obamacare critics in general, and small business in particular, to further defy implementation of Obamacare? Does it show the administration’s incompetence, or lack of understanding,  in implementing a massive bill that effects all Americans that threatens to disrupt an already fragile economy.
Or is the delay merely a step sideways?   Are Obama and his advisors simply buying time – figuring out what to do next?   Are they beginning to recognize that sometimes economic pragmatism trumps political ideology?      Is this a sign that the law has adverse consequences that must be dealt with, or that the law violates a basic American value – the freedom of individuals to choose what care they prefer and what meets their needs. After all, as Thomas Jefferson said in a letter to George Washington, “Delay is preferable to error.”
For a proud man like Obama,  delaying the employer mandate is a difficult choice.  He could have chosen to proceed forward regardless of the consequences.  He could have heeded the advice of James Thurber (1904-1961). “You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward.”  Instead he has chosen to temporize, to wait for the American people, the business community, the healthcare industry, and his political opponents to play their hands.
To “temporize”, according to my dictionary, is  “ be indecisive or evasive to gain time or delay acting. 2. To comply with the time or occasion. 3. To treat or parley as to gain time. 4. To come to terms, 5. To effect a compromise.”
Let us hope, Obama's temporizing is a sign of  coming  to terms with reality  and to effect a compromise.

Tweet:  Obama has delayed the employer mandate until 2015.  Whether this is step backward or sideways depends on your point of view.

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