House votes to delay two critical components of healthcare reform

The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to delay for a year the requirement that Americans obtain health insurance under the provisions of the 2010 healthcare reform law, The New York Times reported.

The House also voted to codify the Obama administration's recent and shocking decision to delay for a year the mandate for larger employers to offer health coverage.

For the most part, voting followed party lines, according to the NYT. Twenty-two Democrats were among the prevailing 251 votes in favor of delaying the individual mandate (174 voted against the measure). On the bill to delay the employer mandate, the vote was 264 to 161 with 35 Democrats agreeing to postpone the employer requirement.

It's unlikely the bills will pass President Barack Obama's veto threat or the Democratic-led Senate, but The Christian Science Monitor reports the votes gave Republicans yet another chance to express frustrations with the reforms.

"The delay of the employer mandate is the latest confirmation of the fatally flawed nature of Obamacare and the need to dismantle it," said Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) in the Monitor piece. "It isn't right to deny American families the same relief available to American businesses."

In a speech at the White House today, Obama attempted to redirect attention away from the negative talk surrounding healthcare reform and highlighted $500 million in rebate checks sent to more than 8 million consumers as a result of the legislation.

Meanwhile, a new study released by the Urban Institute says the one-year implementation delay of the requirement that large employers provide healthcare coverage won't have any effect on the cost of the healthcare reform or the number of people covered. However, delaying the individual mandate would undermine a critical component of the Affordable Care Act.

To learn more:
- read the NYT article
- here's the story in The Christian Science Monitor
- listen to President Obama's speech
- check out the Urban Institute study (.pdf)