President Obama would veto a House bill aimed at legally delaying the employer mandate for a year, the White House announced on Tuesday, even though his administration has already issued a regulation embracing the delay.
On July 2, the Department of Treasury announced it would delay until 2015 a provision of Obamacare that requires larger employers to provide acceptable health insurance or pay a penalty. But it wasn’t clear that the administration had the legal authority to do so, as the text of Obamacare states that the mandate, “shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.”
Thus, Republicans have introduced a bill in the House to codify into law the delay that Obama already supports. They have also proposed legislation that would extend the same delay to individuals required to purchase government-approved health insurance or pay a tax.
But Obama is prepared to veto both bills, according to a White House statement.
The statement says that the employer mandate delay bill is “unnecessary” and the individual mandate delay, “would raise health insurance premiums and increase the number of uninsured Americans."
According to the statement, “If the president were presented [with the bills], he would veto them.”
This move isn’t terribly surprising. If Obama were to support the House employer mandate legislation, it would be seen as a tacit acknowledgement that he acted outside of his authority by issuing a regulatory delay of the mandate. And if he were to waive the individual mandate as well, it would increase the risk that not enough young and healthy people would sign up for insurance to help offset the cost of covering older and sicker Americans, crippling the law.
That said, it’s an incredibly arrogant attitude toward power for Obama to suggest he can arbitrarily rewrite the law by waving his regulatory wand with one hand, and then wave his veto pen with the other when Congress asserts its Constitutional authority to make changes to the law.
Full statement is below:
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
H.R. 2667 – Authority for Mandate Delay Act
(Rep. Griffin, R-Ark., and 26 cosponsors)
H.R. 2668 – Fairness for American Families Act
(Rep. Young, R-Ind., and 23 cosponsors)
The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 2667 and H.R. 2668 because the bills, taken together, would cost millions of hard‑working middle class families the security of affordable health coverage and care they deserve. Rather than attempting once again to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which the House has tried nearly 40 times, it’s time for the Congress to stop fighting old political battles and join the President in an agenda focused on providing greater economic opportunity and security for middle class families and all those working to get into the middle class.
The Affordable Care Act gives people greater control over their own health care and has already improved many aspects of the Nation’s health care system. Because of the Affordable Care Act, tens of millions of Americans who have previously been denied coverage due to a pre-existing medical condition will now be covered. The nearly one in two Americans under the age of 65 with pre‑existing medical conditions will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that they can’t be dropped from their health plan or denied coverage because of those conditions. House passage of H.R. 2667 and H.R. 2668 will undermine this security for tens of millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions.
H.R. 2667 is unnecessary, and H.R. 2668 would raise health insurance premiums and increase the number of uninsured Americans. Enacting this legislation would undermine key elements of the health law, facilitating further efforts to repeal a law that is already helping millions of Americans stay on their parents’ plans until age 26, millions more who are getting free preventive care that catches illness early on, and thousands of children with pre-existing conditions who are now covered.
If the President were presented with H.R. 2667 and H.R. 2668, he would veto them.