President Obama continued whistling by the graveyard of Obamacare implementation Thursday, blaming Republican lawmakers for intransigence on the subject and saying the administration will continue “working through” their criticisms.
In a White House speech, Obama said opponents – especially House Republicans – have been trying to “make political hay” out of the drumbeat of negative headlines about the widely unpopular law.
But he’s got a bigger problem than that: Republicans are only reacting to headlines Obama’s own people are creating.
On Wednesday, for instance, two top officials in charge of getting Obamacare into action said the new state healthcare exchanges – a huge part of the program – could potentially be delayed. If that were to happen, it would be the second major delay after the early July announcement that the requirement on small businesses to provide health insurance for employees would be delayed a year.
Alan Duncan, an auditor with the IRS agency that monitors performance, said testing the systems needed to implement the exchanges “will be difficult to complete” by Oct. 1, the opening day for exchange enrollment. Meanwhile, John Dicken of the Government Accountability Office said the amount of work the federal government needs to do in each state has yet to be determined, raising the risk of missing deadlines.
He added that the federal government and the states have already missed some deadlines.
So the crucial health exchanges are in trouble. The small business mandate is delayed, and all Obama can do is blame Republican “hay making” for a situation where the only thing left standing of his signature bill is the most widely despised part of it: the individual mandate that will require American citizens to buy a product under penalty of law.
The individual mandate was upheld by one of the Supreme Court last June. But it’s looking more and more like not all the votes are really in.
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