Now that the Obama administration has postponed the reform law's employer mandate for a year, Republican lawmakers are emboldened to use the delay as political gain, hoping to postpone the entire healthcare overhaul.
A House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing held Thursday raised concerns about the administration's readiness to implement the individual mandate, NPR Shots reported. "Clearly the rollout of Obamacare is in disarray and experts are questioning whether the White House is competent enough to administer its own massive health care law," said Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas).
During that same House hearing, however, Washington and Lee University School of Law professor Timothy Jost said the GOP is trying to sabotage the reform law. "If you actually care whether [reform law] implementation will help your constituents, take action immediately to appropriate the money needed to get the job done," he said. "If you're not willing to help with the job of [reform] implementation, you have no standing to complain of delays."
Meanwhile, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and 45 other GOP senators wrote to President Barack Obama, recommending he put the entire reform law on permanent hold. The senators claim in the letter that the White House's delay of the employer mandate essentially admits the reform law "is unworkable and harmful to the economy and to American families." They added that "all Americans deserve permanent relief from this onerous law."
Although Democratic lawmakers conceded more reform delays are possible, they still support the law and its ability to expand coverage to more uninsured individuals, the New York Times reported.
"I don't like the delay any more than anybody else," Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) said during the House hearing. "But I would suggest that it's better to do the delay and get this right than not to do the delay and get it wrong."
Jost agreed with Democrats, telling the House panel, "I expect that there will be disruptions and glitches." But he added that the law's "central reforms" can still be implemented on time.