Lawmakers critical of ObamaCare were claiming victory at the announcement that the administration would postpone for one year the requirement that businesses cover their employees.
But they also used the Treasury Department’s news as a springboard to issue fresh calls for full repeal of the healthcare law.
“This is a remarkable acknowledgment by the Obama Administration that ObamaCare is a disaster in progress that will hurt job creators and those looking for work,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). “The solution to ObamaCare is not to delay the day when the Internal Revenue Service comes after struggling American businesses who cannot afford to provide Washington mandated health coverage. The solution is to repeal it entirely.”
“This monstrous and unaffordable law is bad for business, bad for our economy, and bad for jobs. If the Administration is incapable of fully implementing ObamaCare after three years, then it is clearly too complex to force upon families and small businesses,” said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas).
Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise (R-La.) noted that President Obama publicly criticizes House Republicans for fighting to repeal Obamacare but “has been privately trying to waive portions of the law for select groups.”
“We have been pointing out for years that Obamacare will be a disaster for hard-working families, and today President Obama finally agreed that this law is not ready for prime time by delaying the employer mandate. The president’s decision is further proof that we need to fully repeal this failed law,” Scalise said. “We stand ready to work on a bipartisan solution to lower health care costs and fix the real problems without the unworkable mandates and taxes in the President’s health care law.”
The law requires businesses of 50 employees or more to provide a prescribed level of health insurance or pay a penalty between $2,000 and $3,000 for each employee working 30 hours or more a week. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) pointed to a Hudson Institute study that found this mandate is expected to lead to an estimated 3.2 million lost jobs
“While the Administration finally admitted that the employer mandate is unworkable in 2014, it now must recognize that the real problem continues to be the entire Affordable Care Act,” Moran said. “Implementation of the ACA has not lowered costs or increased access as promised. Individuals, families and employers still face increasing health insurance costs, new taxes overseen by what we have recently learned is a politically-biased IRS, burdensome mandates, and massive uncertainty because of this flawed law. The best course of action is to dismantle the ACA and replace it with practical reforms that are workable and will actually reduce health care costs.”
Even a few Democrats were happy with the delay.
“I’m pleased the administration is listening to me and the many businesses that are concerned about the complexity of the new requirements,” Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) said. “Small business owners across this state keep telling me they need more information, time and simplicity to implement this law. I will keep asking the tough questions so the law is implemented as it was designed – to save families money and ensure that every American has access to good health care.”
Sen. Joe Donnelly (R-Ind.) has been trying to get the definition of full-time work in ObamaCare bumped from 30 hours a week to 40 hours per week. He praised the administration for offering “transition relief, free of penalty, for employers as they work to understand what health care reform means for their businesses and as we work to make common sense improvements.”
“A year of transition allows us to work on improving the law to make it work better, such as the proposal Senator Collins and I introduced to redefine ‘full-time’ as 40 hours a week,” he said.