“Without an enforcement mechanism, there is no mandate. It’s just a political talking point.”
— Then-Sen. Barack Obama quoted by NBC News attacking Sen. Hillary Clinton’s health-insurance proposal in a press briefing in Littleton, N.H., Nov. 26, 2007.
With midterm elections shaping up as another disaster for Democrats, President Obama has ordered another delay in the implementation of his signature health law.
And in keeping with his policy and political aims, the president has ordered another helping of dessert before the vegetables are served.
Obama has opted to give employers another year to dump health-insurance for workers before federal penalties built into his 2010 health law go into effect.
This will help keep employment rates more stable as some employers were getting ready to reduce staff or shift workers to part-time status in order to avoid Obamacare penalties. For endangered Senate Democrats who backed the law, like Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu and Arkansas’ Mark Pryor, this is a great reprieve.
The actual economic benefits of the delay are less certain as employers are unlikely to change their long-term strategies based on a one-year delay. But it will certainly reduce the number of layoffs.
And create plenty of new customers for the new subsidized, government-run insurance program set to come online in October.
The law, called “the most complex piece of legislation ever passed by the United States Congress” and “beyond comprehension” by one of its principle architects in the Senate, will lead employers facing penalties to lots of different conclusions about what to do under the new regulations and taxes imposed.
For some, it will be cheaper to pay fines and dump workers onto the government program. For others, it will make more sense to offer compliant plans.
But Obama’s move to delay those penalties certainly provides considerable incentive for some companies to get out of the insurance racket altogether, and do it in a hurry. One can expect plenty of workers to hear unhappy news this fall as human resources departments make announcements that rather than the usual “open enrollment,” there will be a workshop for how to sign up for the Obamacare “insurance exchange.”

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