We encouraged a one-year delay in the law. We recognize that’s not going to happen. Obamacare is here. It’s time, though, for the Obama administration to level with Americans about what’s happening here. It’s time to stop blaming Republicans and start talking about what needs to change.
The administration can do one thing — apparently on its own — to spare many Americans. It can delay the requirement that everyone buy insurance by March 31 or pay a penalty. Federal officials already have granted a one-year reprieve to the mandate that most employers provide insurance to their workers or pay a penalty. The administration cut a sweet deal for Congress and its staffers, who will continue to get generous federal subsidies. It has allowed any number of carve-outs for special pleaders.
A delay in the individual mandate would not be a special favor to American consumers. It’s a matter of fairness.
There are many major problems with doing that, problems so major that I find any delay or even an admission of error hard to imagine. So, for example, delaying the “individual mandate” would give its opponents more time to mount their opposition and would guarantee that Healthcare.gov was an issue in the midterm elections. How would you like to be a Democrat in a district that went for Romney in 2012 being forced to defend a program that even its proponents would have to acknowledge wasn’t ready for primetime?
Additionally, it would provide additional time for the economic implications of the program to become clearer. Some advocates of the PPACA might think that would be beneficial to their case but the Obama Administration apparently doesn’t. We’ve heard a lot less about the PPACA’s triumphs over the last few weeks and a lot more about growing pains. If the administration were more confident about it, we’d be hearing solely about its merits.
Damningly, a delay would be taken as an acknowledgement that the faction of House Republican firebrands who’ve demanded a delay in the PPACA individual mandate as the minimum requirement to avoid shutting down the federal government or raising the debt ceiling had a point.