Republican lawmakers immediately reacted to the unfairness of Monday’s announcement that the Obama administration will delay the Obamacare mandate for medium-sized employers while millions of struggling Americans are still bound by the individual mandate.
Administration officials defended the delay saying the “reprieve applies to a relatively small percentage of employers”: “The administration will let employers with 50 to 99 employees off the hook in 2015. They’ll be required to report on how many workers are covered but will have until 2016 before being required to cover full-time staff or pay a penalty. Americans would still be required to obtain health insurance through what’s known as the individual mandate,” according to Fox News.
But, Republicans took issue that the delay does nothing for the millions of Americans who have now lost their health insurance as there is no exemption from the individual mandate.
House Speaker John Boehner issued the following statement blasting the president for “unilaterally alter[ing] the implementation of ObamaCare.”
“Once again, the president is giving a break to corporations while individuals and families are still stuck under the mandates of his health care law. And, once again, the president is rewriting law on a whim,” Boehner wrote. “If the administration doesn’t believe employers can manage the burden of the law, how can struggling families be expected to? This continued manipulation by the president breeds confusion and erodes Americans’ confidence in him and his health care law. We need fairness for all, with relief from ObamaCare for every American.”
Sen. John Barrasso, (R-Wyo.), went further and issued a statement calling for the elimination of the individual mandate.
“This latest unilateral delay is further evidence that the health care law is hurting the economy, Barrasso said. “The White House is doing everything possible to hide the devastating impacts of this law until after the election. While this may be a temporary break for employers, middle class families will still be forced to prove they have expensive, government mandated insurance. After all the waivers and delays, Americans continue to ask – ‘what about me?’ It’s time to eliminate the individual mandate.”
Later on Monday, Barrasso cosigned a letter – along with Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), John Barrasso (R-WY), John Cornyn (R-TX), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) – they sent to Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskienen asking the agency for clarification on how it “intends to enforce the individual mandate” considering all the changes made to the “law.”
The letter read, in part:
Given a number of last-minute administrative “adjustments” made by the Administration, there is some understandable confusion and concern about the enforcement of the individual mandate tax. With the Administration’s decision to waive, delay, or unilaterally alter some provisions of the law-including the employer mandate tax on businesses – taxpayers deserve clarification on how the agency intends to enforce the individual mandate tax.
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