White House threatens to veto latest O-Care bill

The Obama administration said late Tuesday it would veto a House Republican bill that would eliminate the individual mandate penalty under ObamaCare in 2014.

GOP leaders are expected to bring up this bill tomorrow, which they say is needed to ensure individual Americans are treated fairly, compared to companies. The Obama administration has delayed the employer health insurance mandate until 2015 and 2016 but has not delayed the requirement that individuals buy a health plan this year.

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While Republicans say it's only fair to delay penalties for individuals, the White House said Tuesday that this delay would wreak havoc on the new healthcare system.

The bill would "increase health insurance premiums, decrease tax credits, increase the number of uninsured, and shift costs to businesses, workers and healthcare providers," the White House said.

The White House argued that the bill, H.R. 4118, would only apply to Americans who can "afford to purchase health insurance but decide not to do so," and said the law includes subsidies to help people pay for their health plan.

"In fact, the Affordable Care Act already includes affordability and special-circumstances exceptions for Americans who cannot afford insurance," the White House said. "And the individual shared responsibility provision is essential to ensuring that the 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions can get coverage without being charged more or losing coverage when they get sick."

"Repealing this part of the law would also result in higher premiums for those who remain uninsured, fewer premium tax credits for middle-income families, and increased cost-shifting of uncompensated care to health care providers, workers, and businesses."

The House is expected to ignore these warnings and approve the bill Wednesday, on the strength of Republican support.

Under current law, the fine for failing to buy a health plan this year is 1 percent of taxable income, or a minimum $95. That fine will increase to 2 percent or a $325 minimum next year.

Republicans have argued repeatedly that the Obama administration's unilateral decisions to delay requirements that companies provide insurance to workers is unfair to individuals who won't enjoy this same delay.

"The president recently issued another delay to unilaterally change his own law, a delay that protected businesses from the employer mandate tax," said Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), who proposed the bill last week. "It is not fair to give relief to businesses with big checkbooks, yet not help hard working families with relief from these unaffordable mandates."