News Column

Obama Would Veto House Healthcare-reform Delay Bills

July 17, 2013

U.S. President Obama will veto measures set for House votes Wednesday to delay key parts of the new healthcare law if they reach his desk, the White House said.

The administration "strongly opposes" a pair of Republican-led bills to delay the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's employer mandate and individual mandate, a White House statement said.

The employer mandate requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to purchase health insurance or face penalties. The individual mandate requires the same thing for most Americans.

The scheduled House votes follow an administration announcement July 2 to delay for a year, until 2015, the employer mandate, saying business owners expressed concerns about the law's complex reporting requirements.

The back-to-back votes will seek to codify the White House's delay and match it with a one-year delay of the individual provision, saying it's only fair.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said on the House floor the vote would "make sure that families and individuals get the same break from Obamacare that the president gave big businesses."

"This week we will take action to protect every American," he said, urging all lawmakers to vote for both bills.

The House votes are widely seen as symbolic. Neither bill is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Republicans said the votes would force Democrats to align with Obama or distance themselves from the overhaul.

"I think most Democrats will stick together," Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the No. 2 House Democrat, told reporters.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, which provides economic data to Congress, said Tuesday delaying the individual mandate would reduce the deficit while increasing premiums.

The office did not produce a cost estimate for delaying the employer mandate.

The House has voted 37 times to repeal Obama's signature healthcare law The U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of the law's constitutionality in June 2012.

Source: Copyright UPI 2013

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