GOP sees politics behind employer mandate delay

The Obama administration was playing politics with its recent decision to delay the implementation of the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., argued in the weekly Republican Address on Saturday, calling on the administration to admit that the law as a whole "is failing" and work with Republicans on finding a replacement.

"Just last week, the Obama administration was forced to admit that one of the key pieces of the health care law just isn't working," he explained. "In an attempt to push the most economically crushing and burdensome regulations past the 2014 election, President Obama decided he had the authority to waive the employer mandate because he knows that it's a political liability."

The employer mandate in question would require businesses with more than 50 employees to provide health care coverage to those employees. The Obama administration has said it delayed the mandate out of concern that the law's reporting requirements would befuddle businesses, offering an additional year for affected parties to iron out the kinks and adopt the mandate without any confusion or consternation.

The White House has further denied that politics played any role in the delay, accusing Republicans of waging a "nihilistic" campaign to undermine the law in its entirety.

In his address, Enzi held fast to the Republican line that Obamacare needs to be repealed, root and branch, and replaced.

"It's time to admit that this partisan experiment in government-run health care is failing," he said. "Many of the law's authors, whether because of pride, politics or a genuine belief that the government knows best, stubbornly cling to this law that is so massive, burdensome, bureaucratic and confusing that it's collapsing under its own weight."

Enzi, who in 2009 was one of three Republican senators negotiating with Democrats on an eventually-aborted healthcare compromise, called on Democrats to come back to the bargaining table on health care reform and replace the Affordable Care Act with a bipartisan solution.

"We have to stop dealmaking and start legislating," he said. "We still need health care reform, but it has to be the right way. The federal government should be willing to support viable reforms where it's needed, but also refrain from handcuffing innovative, private sector designs with excessive regulations or narrow political interests."

Without enumerating specifics, Enzi called for a "common sense, step-by-step" approach that protects "Americans' access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at a lower cost."

  • Jake Miller

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