By Justin Sink - 07/08/13 06:18 PM EDT
The White House on Monday defended the decision to delay the implementation of the employer mandate in ObamaCare as “the right thing to do.”
"We make determinations that are in the interest of successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act," White House press secretary Jay Carney said. “We are flexible because that is the right thing to do."
Republican lawmakers have seized on the delay as evidence that the healthcare law is a “train wreck” that should be repealed, and some have questioned whether the administration had the legal authority to change the deadline set in the legislation.
Carney reiterated that the mandate had been delayed at the behest of the business community in order to ease the bureaucratic burden of compliance.
"We're interested in getting it right because we believe that getting it right will further the benefits that are available to more Americans," Carney said.
The White House spokesman said officials have made "enormous strides" in implementing other parts of the healthcare law, including helping more medical offices adopt electronic records and working with insurers who will offer coverage on state-level exchanges. Carney said those exchanges are set to launch "as advertised" in October.
In the full regulations issued Friday, the Obama administration also said that state-run insurance exchanges would not have to verify purchasers' claims that their employer does not provide health insurance.
Moreover, the government said they would scale back audits of salary claims made by applicants to the exchanges, leading some to question whether consumers would intentionally underreport their income to receive a larger tax break when purchasing insurance.
The administration also delayed until 2015 a requirement for states to implement notification system that would have allowed consumers to electronically access information about which benefits and subsidies they are eligible to receive.
Over the weekend, Republican lawmakers said the delays were evidence the president's signature health care law should be repealed.
"The question is, what part of ObamaCare actually works? They've already had to concede on other parts of ObamaCare not working. Now they have to do it on the employer mandate, and pretty soon I think they're going to have to have some questions about the individual mandate," said Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho). "There's nothing about this law that is working in the United States."
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told Fox News he believed the law's implementation would slow the economic recovery.
"I don't know how you can create a mechanism that has more downward pressure on employment than this healthcare bill," he said.
"Just moving it back a year is not going to undo the uncertainty that many people have,” he said.