House GOP to Obama: Partial Delay of Obamacare 'Creates Many New Questions' to Answer

House Republican leaders today pressed President Obama on his delay of the ObamaCare employer mandate, asking why the same relief from the new regulations wasn't extended to households as well.

The yearlong implementation delay of the employer provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) relieved businesses of noncompliance penalties for an extra year as an adjustment period.

"We agree with you that many of the provisions in the law cannot be implemented within the current time frame; but we strongly disagree with you that time will ever remedy these predictable consequences of the law," said a letter sent to Obama today by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and other GOP leaders. "Many have predicted the problems that your Administration now acknowledges, and each provision you delay continues to demonstrate that the entire law is unworkable."

"We recognize that the decision to delay the employer mandate was likely not a decision you made in only a day and necessarily required substantial review by analysts at the Department of the Treasury, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor, as well as the Office of Management and Budget."

Treasury announced the delay last week. "The Administration is announcing that it will provide an additional year before the ACA mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements begin," said Mark J. Mazur, assistant secretary for tax policy. "...Just like the Administration’s effort to turn the initial 21-page application for health insurance into a three-page application, we are working hard to adapt and to be flexible about reporting requirements as we implement the law."

"Your decision to delay one part of the law affecting employers and leave in place provisions regulating individual and family health care creates many new questions and concerns," House Republicans continued in their letter.

They asked that the administration provide to Congress:

  • the change in the number of individuals receiving subsidies through the exchange for calendar year 2014,
  • the change in the number of individuals expected to pay the individual mandate penalty for calendar year 2014,
  • the change in the number of employers who currently provide health care coverage,
  • changes in federal outlays and revenues,
  • changes in enrollment in Medicaid for calendar year 2014,
  • the impact of the employer mandate on increasing the number of individuals working part-time involuntarily and business reducing the number of hours employees work to below 30 hours,
  • the impact on the ability of the IRS and Health care Exchanges to accurately verify and prevent fraud regarding individual eligibility for premium tax credits and cost sharing subsidies,
  • the legality of the decision to unilaterally delay the mandate, and
  • the economic impact.

"Please also provide to Congress your justification for only delaying the employer mandate at this time and not the new mandate on individuals and families," they added. "We agree with you that the burden was overwhelming for employers, but we also believe American families need the same relief."

House Republicans also want a list of any other ObamaCare provisions expected to be delayed before Oct. 1.

"Because the unilateral changes to this complicated law were surely made with a great deal of data, review and input, we believe it is reasonable to request answers to these questions by August 1, 2013."