They’re scrambling like chickens with their heads cut off to complete the federally-run health-insurance “exchanges” by the (currently) October 1st deadline; premiums are already getting pricier all over the place; insurers are reluctant to participate in multiple facets of the law, and in some cases have already declined to do so; they’re trying (and so far failing) to secure big-name, large-audience endorsements while practically conscripting low-level federal employees to help with “educating” the public; they know they’re going to have a tough time persuading the young, healthy people they need to subsidize the heightened risk pools to volunteer to sign up for more expensive insurance plans; and just in case you might of thought things couldn’t get any messier for them, never fear — ’cause they just did, both administratively and politically.
It sounds like the business community was in enough of an uproar over the damaging economic effects of the “Affordable” Care Act to spur the administration’s announcement last night that they’ll be delaying the employer mandate (which requires all employers with 50+ workers to provide health coverage for employees who work 30+ hours/week, or else pay a penalty of $2,000/worker over a 30-worker threshold) until 2015. It simply wouldn’t do for employers to lay off/shift workers to part-time en masse before the 2014 midterms, you see — as CBS’s John Dickerson so eloquently put it this morning, this does not look good for them.
As a political matter, this is not good. It sort of contributes to the feeling that the Affordable Care Act is a jalopy they’re trying to roll out of the driveway here at barely operational for the president. So that’s not good. The White House made the decision, though, take the pain now before the July 4th weekend rather than have all of these stories over the next year of companies that were laying off workers or having such a hard time implementing this. … The problem for Democrats running is that they’re already weighed down by the feelings people have about this, about this bill and about the opposition from small business and from businesses of all kinds. And though this delay, again, takes this story from being a chronic ailment as it gets implemented, it doesn’t really reduce the fact that in a lot of these states where Democrats are running, red states, this law is unpopular.