In what looks to be the beginning of “death by a thousand cuts” for Obamacare, Republicans are pushing a bill to delay implementation of the individual mandate portion of Obamacare that requires individuals to purchase an acceptable plan or pay a fine. Ironically, it was Obama himself who started this train when he announced he was delaying implementation of the employer mandate. He doesn’t have the Constitutional authority to do so and Republican pounced.
Republicans will likely offer Obama a bill giving him his extension of the employer mandate, but attach it to a bill extending the individual mandate when it goes to the Senate. This will open up the debate on Obamacare that we never had during the election and force vulnerable swing state Democrats to take a stand ahead of the 2014 elections. Are they with Obama or with their constituents?
Democrats are admitting there are serious problems with Obamacare but are trying to say Obamacare is old news and Republican should just help make it better since it’s now law. This sounds like desperation to me. Republicans now intend to “fix” it, but their fix will not be one that makes Democrats happy, which is why Democrats are getting nervous about the 2014 elections. Republicans have their own version of health care reform and it doesn’t look much like Obamacare. Republican voters are much more motivated to repeal Obamacare then Democrats are to keep it, especially in swing districts. That will be a factor in voter turnout especially as independents are saying they want it delayed or “fixed” as well.
Honestly if it wasn’t going to be a factor in the 2014 elections, Obama would not be out on his fourth attempt to travel around the country and sell voters on it. It’s interesting why he chose to pick this fight because he does not have the authority to delay the mandate. The law states specifically when it will take effect. By deciding to delay it he has made this a huge issue both about power and law and about why they haven’t worked these bugs out after all this time. Obama essentially admitted the law is unworkable which gives its opponents the opportunity they were looking for to try and change it, or replace it with something else.