White House press secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday angrily dismissed demands from GOP leaders for more information on the decision to delay ObamaCare’s employer mandate, declaring that "implementation is moving forward" on the healthcare law.
Carney said Republicans who argue the Affordable Care Act is unwieldy and unworkable had no realistic alternative to propose, and that support for the president's legislation would be buoyed once Americans began benefiting from the law.
In a letter to President Obama on Tuesday, Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerBoehner compares Trump to Teddy Roosevelt Boehner: 'Thank God' I wasn't in the middle of election Ryan delays committee assignments until 2017 MORE (Ohio), Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorTrump allies warn: No compromise on immigration Chamber of Commerce overhauls lobbying operation Laura Ingraham under consideration for White House press secretary MORE (Va.) and other members of the House GOP leadership said the year-long delay of a requirement mandating employers of more than 50 persons to offer health insurance is proof the entire law should be blocked.
"Many have predicted the problems that your Administration now acknowledges, and each provision you delay continues to demonstrate that the entire law is unworkable," they wrote.
The letter also called on the administration to extend the same break to individuals as it did to corporations, by also delaying the individual mandate, which fines consumers who fail to purchase health insurance. The administration has said it will roll out that provision as scheduled in 2014.
"We agree with you that the burden was overwhelming for employers, but we also believe American families need the same relief," the GOP leaders wrote.
Carney dismissed that call, saying that the individual mandate "provides built-in flexibility to make sure those who cannot afford health insurance are not punished." He noted that tax subsidies would be available to assist those who could not afford insurance.
Carney accused Republican leaders of fanatically pursuing repeal.
"They have no alternative put forward by House Republicans," Carney said. "Even the hint of a possibility that Majority Leader Cantor might try to come up with an alternative for Republican healthcare reform was eviscerated by the conservative elements and the Tea Party elements in the Republican Party."
At a press conference earlier Tuesday, BoehnerJohn BoehnerBoehner compares Trump to Teddy Roosevelt Boehner: 'Thank God' I wasn't in the middle of election Ryan delays committee assignments until 2017 MORE said Republican leaders would again pursue a vote to repeal the law.
“I think what the president did was outrageous,” Boehner said. “The idea that we’re going to give big businesses a break under ObamaCare but we’re going to punish small businesses and families? It’s wrong, and we’ll have another vote. Count on it.”
There are also signs Republicans could ask for a delay of the individual mandate in negotiations over the debt ceiling later this summer.
Carney called Boehner's comments "pretty rich."
"It's pretty rich coming from leaders who have now voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act going on 40 times, and who promised to do it again, to charge up that hill, only again not to reach the top, rather than focus on the work that the American people want done."
—Russell Berman and Sam Baker contributed.