The White House is dithering with the Affordable Care Act…again!
The White House announced on Monday that it is extending the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act until January 2016 for businesses with 50-100 employees.
This is the second time that the White House has extended the mandate. In July of 2013 the Obama administration extended the deadline to 2015 for businesses employing more than 100 workers. The law originally required that businesses with 50 or more employees provide health care coverage by 2014 or face a fine of $2,000 per employee.
The administration referred to the extension as a form of “transition relief” to help employers transition to the new health care law.
There are so many things wrong with this announcement that it is hard to know where to start.
GROW A PAIR - If you are going to announce changes to your signature piece of legislation, particularly changes in its most controversial element…the mandate…you don’t do it via a blog post. You stand before the press and explain your reasoning.
TELL US THE TRUTH - The term “transition relief” is “bs” and the White House knows it. The ACA was passed into law in 2010. The business community has had over three years to prepare for the “transition.”
The White House won’t say it but it is very concerned about the affects the mandate is having on businesses that are already struggling in a weakened economy. Insurance costs are bound to go up in the short term until insurance companies figure out the demographics of their new client pool. The more the White House screws around with the rules the longer that will take. The fines offer an expensive alternative. Both options affect the bottom line. The last thing the White House wants to do is impede economic growth…but the ACA will do just that for the time being.
DÉJÀ VU – We’ve seen this movie before. This White House continues to focus on the policy while ignoring the messaging. For example…this one year delay poses an obvious question…if the mandate is bad for business and the economy in 2014 why will it be good for business and the economy in one year’s time? There is nothing to suggest that we will see a sudden surge in economic growth in the next twelve months. By all accounts the current slow but sure trends will continue.
The health care industry affects 18% of our economy. That’s a very big deal. Any change in the law governing that industry warrants an explanation. Why is the mandate bad today…but good tomorrow?
THE ANSWER IS SIMPLE – It’s all about politics. Democrats are desperate to lessen the negative impact that the ACA is most definitely going to have on the mid-terms.
Democrats are in danger of losing more seats in the House. There is a very real possibility that they could lose their majority in the Senate. At the core of the nation’s discontent is the ACA. The Obama administration’s decision to push back the mandate until after the elections is clearly a response to the pressure they are receiving from their Democratic caucus. It would be nice to think that the administration is making this change for the good of the masses. Unfortunately it’s just politics as usual.
We have said from the very beginning that the ACA is a flawed attempt to provide health CARE for the masses by way of a free enterprise insurance industry that is interested in providing health INSURANCE for the young and the healthy. The ACA serves at the pleasure of the masses. Its goal is to improve their quality of life and reduce their health care costs. The insurance industry serves at the pleasure of its stockholders. Its goal is to turn a profit. There is nothing wrong with either objective. But trying to force health care for all through the current free enterprise system is the consummate example of round peg square hole.
That said…the ACA is a far and away a better solution than anything its Republican detractors have to offer…WHICH IS NOTHING! Until Republicans are willing to offer a substantive solution to our nation’s health care problems their comments are nothing more than partisan nonsense designed to confuse the public.
Unfortunately the ACA is here to stay. We would much prefer a single payer solution such as Medicare/Medicaid for everyone. But until the Obama administration is willing to go down that path they need to concentrate on modifying and explaining the ACA in a way that is good for the people…not just good politics.