Abandon ship: Senate Democrat calls for delaying ObamaCare’s individual mandate as WH announces new delay for exchanges

posted at 1:21 pm on September 26, 2013 by Allahpundit

Two words, my friends: “Bipartisan support.”

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia broke ranks with fellow Democrats and said he’d support a stopgap spending plan that delays the individual mandate in President Barack Obama’s health-care law.

“There’s no way I could not vote for it,” Manchin said at a Bloomberg Government breakfast today. “It’s very reasonable and sensible.”…

Manchin, 66, said he’d be willing to delay the individual mandate as part of the budget negotiations because the Obama administration in July gave businesses an extra year to provide their workers with health insurance.

“Don’t put the mandate on the American public right now,” Manchin said. “Give them at least a year. If you know you couldn’t bring the corporate sector, you gave them a year, don’t you think it’d be fair?”

Two intriguing footnotes. One: News of this broke while The One was busy delivering his umpteen-thousandth speech about how terrific O-Care will be if we just give it a chance. Coincidence, or did Manchin time this for maximum impact? Two: Unlike many other red-state Democrats, he’s not up for reelection next year. He’s safe in West Virginia until 2018. Either he supports delay on the merits (he ran an ad three years ago in which he literally shot a hole through a copy of the bill) or he thinks the political fallout of backing O-Care will be so gruesome that it’ll still be a liability for him in five years. Either way, this is just the sort of political cover that Democrats who are up for reelection in conservative states need to vote with the GOP. Pryor, Landrieu, Begich, Hagan — Republicans could conceivably have 50 votes or more for delay headed into debt-ceiling negotiations. That won’t break a filibuster but it does complicate the White House’s message of blaming everything on those darned wingnuts and their anti-ObamaCare monomania.

But Manchin’s announcement wasn’t the only news breaking during O’s speech:

The Obama administration is delaying another piece of Obamacare – this time postponing online enrollment in some of the small-business exchanges scheduled to open Oct. 1, sources tell POLITICO.

Small businesses looking to enroll in coverage on so-called SHOP exchanges run by the federal government will be able to submit a paper application on Oct. 1 – they just won’t be able to enroll online…

The SHOP applications represent the latest glitch in the federal exchange infrastructure. Federal health officials recently said they won’t be able to transfer Medicaid applications to states right away, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week.

So there’s the answer to the question I asked last night. The D.C. exchange was promoted by the media as ahead of the curve relative to other exchanges, and yet they still couldn’t get the subsidies calculations right in time for launch day — with three years to prepare. If that’s the shape that a comparatively well-run exchange was in, when would the more poorly-run exchanges start postponing elements of the rollout? Well, here you go. It took less than 24 hours.

Exit question: At this point, would the White House rather meet Boehner’s demand for a one-year delay of all of ObamaCare or Manchin’s demand for a one-year delay of the individual mandate specifically? I think there’s more political risk to the latter than the former, no? If you delay the whole law, you buy yourself time to work out all the bugs before trying again at a rollout next year. It’ll be hugely embarrassing to the White House to postpone things when they’re this close to launch, and there are doubtless lots of congressional Democrats who don’t want O-Care becoming a key issue right before the midterms, but that’s survivable. What’s potentially not survivable is rolling out the exchanges now minus the individual mandate, which means lots of young adults will face no legal compulsion to buy in. If (as Bill Clinton noted two days ago) healthy uninsured people refuse to fork over their money, then insurers suddenly don’t have a pool of revenue to cover all the people with preexisting conditions who are signing up, and then the whole scheme starts to collapse. There’ll be no delays after that; if insurers start crumbling, we’ll be in post-ObamaCare mode as a country. Better, then, to hit pause on the whole thing if you’re O to prevent that sort of collapse, right?

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In Manchin’s TV ad, he didn’t shoot a hole in the Obamacare bill. He shot the hole in the cap & trade bill.

CarlKopp on September 26, 2013 at 7:35 PM

What I don’t see anyone talking about much is how much money Obamacare is going to suck out of the rest of the economy.

The first thing I did when I graduated from college and started working was buy a new car, not pay for health care coverage I didn’t need.

Welcome to the triple dip recession.

Obama, you are an idiot.

MichaelGabriel on September 26, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Great point.

It’s called “Opportunity Cost”, something they used to teach in Econ 101 — but undoubtedly too low brow for Hahvahd Leftists …

ShainS on September 26, 2013 at 8:17 PM

As for Ted Cruz, he is a hero…that man is going to be something big in the future, and I hope Peter King chokes when he has to acknowledge that…

ellifint on September 26, 2013 at 7:03 PM

Ted Cruz came to NY to help fundraise for the NYGOP. He was a rockstar and I think that is what has Peter King in a tizzy.

monalisa on September 26, 2013 at 8:28 PM

The best part about this is that it reduces the spots that are available for Harry Reid to allow vulnerable Dems to vote against ObamaCare.

txmomof6 on September 26, 2013 at 8:29 PM

Well, the Beltway Barnacle Boys are back.

bloggless on September 26, 2013 at 10:15 PM

Anomalies. Suck it up Rethuglicans.


smoothsailing on September 26, 2013 at 10:46 PM

The commie Democrats do not need the moderate Democrat votes like this guy, they got McCain, Graham, Corker, Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, etal to do the dirty work for them.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on September 26, 2013 at 11:27 PM

There is only one change we should demand and stick to, knowing they will have to cave. That’s subjecting federal employees to the same law, no more special plans or special subsidies. If it is good enough for the hoi polloi, it’s good enough for those who profess to be their “servants.”

Other than that, letting Obama screw it up totally is the only way to turn the tide, meaning votes in the Senate.

Now I understand some fear people will get “hooked on subsidies,” but if their “subsidized” costs are higher than before, they won’t be in love. And I agree the Left’s plan all along was to use the failures to get to single payer.

But will the American people trust the people who screwed up health care coverage to fix it with MORE intervention? Not if we keep our hands off the plan and make Obama own it.


We don’t have to like it, but the fact is no matter what we do this week and this month and next, ObamaCare is going to take effect and it is also going to crash and burn. The only question is will we interfere with it enough for Obama to blame us for problems.

I for one favor sending Idiot Boy out there with his Plan, and sip some sweet tea while I watch him twist slowly in the wind.

Adjoran on September 26, 2013 at 11:32 PM

Kay Hagan (D-NC) will do exactly what Chuck Schumer tells her to do since he helped get her elected by making fun of Elizabeth Dole’s age in that infamous 2-men-in-a-rocking-chair-ad that was paid for by the Democrat Senatorial Committee, which Schumer chaired at the time. He’ll tell her to vote with the party, and she will.

SouthernGent on September 26, 2013 at 11:47 PM

Maybe Putin will return his Reset button so we can put it to good use.

HiJack on September 27, 2013 at 1:42 AM

I just got my increase notice in the mail..guess I should be grateful it only went up $40.45 a month

Xango Annie on September 27, 2013 at 2:35 AM

Let it burn.

Theophile on September 27, 2013 at 4:36 AM

Better, then, to hit pause on the whole thing if you’re O to prevent that sort of collapse, right?

Of course not, the opposite is true. He wants the insurers to collapse so that his big Marxist government can come running in with single payer gotcha plan.

Haven’t we yet learned how communists work. Destroy, then the freedom thieving red knight comes in to save everyone.

Don L on September 27, 2013 at 5:42 AM

There is only one change we should demand and stick to, knowing they will have to cave. That’s subjecting federal employees to the same law, no more special plans or special subsidies. If it is good enough for the hoi polloi, it’s good enough for those who profess to be their “servants.”

Naw, then things calm down and he takes the house and passes legislation letting them off the hook. Evil is very patient–that’s why the left operates on five year plans.

Let it burn. Haven’t we yet learned that change only comes in a crisis? Our commie friends know that all too well.

Don L on September 27, 2013 at 5:45 AM

Looks as if Joe’s looking forward and doesn’t feel as safe as he thought he would be.

Kissmygrits on September 27, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Democrats are not going to accept the blame for anything that happens.

So, if your plan A is to do-nothing, what is your plan B?

virgo on September 27, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Let me get this straight… ObamaCare needs healthy young people to buy insurance in order to subsidize the coverage of older people and poor people, but they can stay on their parents’ plan until age 26? Uh, why then would anyone under age 26 buy health insurance?

Colony14 on September 27, 2013 at 6:27 PM

If a politician speaks on a Friday does anyone hear? Probably not. But I’m liking Obama’s approval rating going down. He’s been talking non-stop and sounding like the spoilt child he is… and approval is going down. With all the media supporting him, editing him… wow. I have slight hope.

petunia on October 4, 2013 at 10:42 PM