Health reform implementation

GOP presses Obama administration on mandate delay timeline

Republican committee leaders are pressing the administration for more details about the decision to delay the ObamaCare employer mandate in light of President Obama’s comment on June 6 that the law was operating as intended despite some “glitches” and “hiccups.” 

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and two deputies asked for the precise date the administration began to weigh the delay, which means that larger businesses will not be required to offer healthcare coverage until 2015.

{mosads}In committee hearings, GOP lawmakers have suggested that discussions about the delay were underway even as Obama said the healthcare rollout was going as planned. 

Republicans see the decision as a sign that the healthcare law is collapsing, and many have suggested that Obama was speaking disingenuously during the news conference in California, one month before the administration announced the delay.

The White House says ObamaCare’s implementation is on track and that the employer mandate delay will not significantly impact the rollout but help businesses by giving them more time to comply. 

“In states that are working hard to implement this law properly, we’re seeing it work for people, for middle-class families, for consumers,” Obama said in June. 

“That’s not to say everything is going to go perfectly right away. When you’re implementing a program this large, there will be some glitches, there are going to be some hiccups. But no matter what, every consumer will be covered by the new benefits and protections under this law, permanently.” 

Camp’s letter comes as House lawmakers prepare to hold their third hearing on the delay, which has energized Obama’s critics and prompted speculation about federal officials’ ability to meet crucial implementation deadlines in the coming months. 

The members asked Lew to provide analyses of how the delay will affect federal spending, tax revenues, job creation, employer-based health insurance and the number of individuals who will enroll in the new insurance marketplaces. 

Republicans also asked for a list of all personnel involved with the decision, including officials at the Internal Revenue Service, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department and the White House, and the dates those individuals were consulted. 

Treasury officials have stated that they were the source of the delay, and that HHS was not involved. 

The letter came from Camp and Reps. Charles Boustany (R-La.) and Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the chairman of the Oversight and Health subcommittees, respectively.

—This post was last updated at 12:22 p.m.

Tags Charles Boustany Jack Lew Kevin Brady

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