Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli on Tuesday called the Obama administration’s delay of the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act another “warning sign of systemic failure.”
Cuccinelli, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, was one of the first to challenge Obamacare in court. Despite being upheld at the U.S. Supreme Court, the White House is now backpedaling on the implementation schedule, pushing the employer-insurance requirement from 2014 to 2015.
Cuccinelli said it was more evidence that the program is struggling to launch.
“First, the Obama administration announced the early closure of the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance plan because it was going broke. Five billion dollars had been allocated for that program to be a temporary bridge until the federal health care law went into effect, but the administration said it needed to close enrollment to any new applicants to cover the costs of the 100,000 people already enrolled,” Cuccinelli said in a statement.
“Then the cost of the exchanges shot up, and now we learn that the administration will delay the employer mandate due to the growing chorus of businesses across the country who could not afford to comply with the law.
“Today’s announcement that officials are delaying implementation of a key aspect of the president’s unprecedented federal government intrusion into our healthcare system is further proof that the law rushed through the legislative process is fundamentally flawed,” the attorney general said.
“As premiums increase and taxes are hiked, it’s clear that in addition to creating mountains of new regulations, costs are also increasing.”
Quoting administration officials, Bloomberg News reported that businesses won’t be penalized next year if they don’t provide workers health insurance next year.
The officials said administration decided to wait until 2015 before enforcing the employer mandate in order to simplify reporting requirements and give businesses more time to adapt their health-care coverage.
“It addresses vehement complaints from employer groups about the administrative burden of reporting requirements, though it may also affect coverage provided to some workers,” Bloomberg reported.
The full impact of the administration’s delay is unclear, since it appears that the “individual mandate” requiring individuals to purchase insurance is still scheduled to take effect in 2014.
More details are expected to come in regulatory guidance to be issued later this week.
Cuccinelli’s Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe, has strongly supported Obamacare and, if fact, has proposed going further.
“It’s important that Virginia voters know that my opponent not only championed the president’s plan, but wanted to go even further in socializing the healthcare of hardworking Virginia families,” Cuccinelli said.
A Gallup poll last month found that 52 percent of Americans disapproved of Obamacare, while 44 percent approved.
In Virginia, another survey reported that 23 percent of the state’s doctors say they will stop accepting Medicare patients if programmatic cuts contained in law go into effect.