Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Obama Delays Obamacare Again

A law so awesome that Democrats can't survive its enforcement.
Where does the White House get the authority to tweak and delay the rules like this? I’m not sure how much the administration actually cares at this point, but I suspect it derives at least partly from the—whoalookablimpbehindyougottarun!

To some extent this is just one of the many perils of attempting to make a law as complex and controversial as Obamacare work. The administration is attempting to please employers who don’t like the requirement and mitigate some of the potential economic destabilization that could come with the requirement. It’s a political move as much as anything. But it could further undermine the law’s already shaky policy foundations. As Obamacare’s supporters argued before the law was passed, the employer mandate is one of the key mechanisms the law relies on to keep costs down and coverage up. But the administration has now twice weakened that mechanism.

At the same time, the administration’s pick-and-choose approach to implementation has destabilized the law politically.  Because the Obama administration won’t be running the show forever. And future administrations, which might not be so sympathetic to the law or so tied to its fortunes, are likely to take advantage of the flexibility the Obama administration has made for itself here. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry might be overstating the case a little bit when he writes at Forbes that President Obama is “giving conservatives all the tools they need to transform the country.” But with legally dubious moves like this, the Obama administration is almost certainly setting a precedent that will eventually come back to haunt Democrats.


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