The journey of the CLASS Act has become part of a growing pattern. From the time that the health care law was first making its way through Congress, Democrats have consistently dismissed reasonable criticisms of the law, only to see critics later vindicated by events. Time and again, the administration has had to acknowledge that many provisions of the law – minor and major — are unworkable.
This April, the Obama administration announced it was delaying a provision of the law aimed at expanding health insurance to small businesses, citing “operational challenges,” according to the New York Times. In May, it announced it was scrambling to tweak a program meant to provide temporary health insurance coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, because the program was way over-budget, even though it was only covering a third of the people it initially intended to.
At the time the legislation was being written, critics repeatedly pointed out that its requirement that larger employers provide government-approved health insurance to their workers or pay penalties would provide an incentive for businesses to slash their workforce (or cut worker hours).
Announcements by business executives over the past several years, as well as jobs reports reflecting a shift in the U.S. labor force toward part-time work, provided evidence to support this view. But critics were mocked as blowing things out of proportion. Then, the administration announced on July 2 that it was delaying the mandate for a year, citing the complexity of the new rules and complaints from businesses.