President Obama’s decision to push back key provisions of his signature healthcare law amid growing concerns it isn’t ready for prime time could take a key issue away from Republicans in next year’s midterm elections.
The announcement Tuesday night that the mandate for many small businesses to provide health insurance to employees will be delayed by one year was hailed by business leaders and seemed to acknowledge Republican claims the plan would hurt – or at least confuse – business. But it also likely undercuts Republican plans to make ObamaCare the centerpiece of their midterm elections strategy.
Democrats are defending 21 Senate seats to the Republicans’ 14. The GOP had already started to excoriate Senate Democrats who had voted for the health law in 2009. And the House has voted more than 35 times since taking control of the chamber in 2011 to repeal or at least defund all or parts of ObamaCare, most recently in May.
“The president’s health care law is already raising costs and costing jobs,” House Speaker John Boehner said. “This announcement means even the Obama administration knows the ‘train wreck’ will only get worse. … And it underscores the need to repeal the law and replace it with effective, patient-centered reforms.”
The announcement was made late Tuesday by the Treasury Department, at the beginning of the holiday week while Congress was on recess. It came amid reports that the administration is running into roadblocks as it prepares to implement ObamaCare.
The change in the employer mandate also is arguably the most significant concession the administration has made to date to critics of the plan.
“We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively,” Treasury Assistant Secretary Mark Mazur said in a blog post. “We have listened to your feedback and we are taking action.”
Randy Johnson, senior vice president of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits at the Chamber of Commerce, told Fox News the administration’s decision shows it has “finally recognized the obvious.”

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