By Russ Britt
Following through on comments publicized earlier this week, House Speaker John Boehner says he’ll call for a vote next week on a prospective delay in requiring individuals to buy insurance under President Obama’s health-care overhaul.
MarketWatch’s Rob Schroeder reports from Washington that Boehner announced plan to reporters on Thursday in the wake of last week’s decision by the president to hold off on requiring that employers of 50 or more full-time workers provide insurance. Boehner rhetorically asked whether it’s fair to offer businesses a waiver for 2014, the first year Obamacare was scheduled to take full effect, but not individuals.
“Hell no, it isn’t,” the speaker said.
Companies had complained the parameters set by the administration were not released until the end of 2012, making it difficult for them to provide a full accounting of what health-care plans are provided for all their workers. The administration also acknowledged that it needed to streamline the rules for companies, particularly when roughly 95% of them already are offering coverage yet still have the same reporting rules as those who don’t.
Smelling blood, Republicans have seized on the delay as a double standard in what they view as a deeply flawed law that they’ve tried to repeal nearly 40 times. Some reports have said Boehner will try to put Congressional Democrats in an awkward position by calling for a vote in support of the employer mandate, then following up with a vote on a similar delay for the individual mandate.
No date has been set for the vote. It is expected to be largely symbolic as the Democratic-controlled Senate is likely to vote down such a measure. The administration and the Senate see the individual mandate as a critical cog in the law.
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