Last week, former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs suggested that the employer mandate in ObamaCare would not survive, and he certainly has reason to think so. The White House keeps unilaterally changing the enforcement date and the parameters of the mandate, clearly hoping to escape political accountability for it when it finally takes effect. Yesterday, Candy Crowley asked Nancy Pelosi if Gibbs was right, but the House Minority Leader dismissed Gibbs’ prediction as just Gibbs speaking on behalf of his corporate clients:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) suggested Sunday that former top Obama aide Robert Gibbs’s comment that the employer mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act won’t survive might be related to Gibbs’s business interests.
“I don’t know who his clients are or what his perspective is,” Pelosi told CNN’s “State of the Union.” “But we are celebrating the fact that we have over seven million who have signed up.” …
Asked again about Gibbs on Sunday, Pelosi expressed exasperation that his comments would be given such prominence. “I don’t know why we’re focusing on that,” she told CNN. “One person says one thing. Seven million people signed up.”
Yikes. I imagine that Gibbs won’t be too thrilled to have Pelosi imply that he’s a corporate shill. However, Pelosi seems a lot more effusive about the employer mandate than the Obama administration, perhaps because Gibbs and the White House sees what’s coming when it really hits. HHS’ own data shows that as many as 93 million may lose their current insurance plans, and given what compliance costs will be for larger employers, a significant percentage of those may find themselves on the individual market as employers choose to pay fines rather than absorb the skyrocketing costs.
Pelosi is right about one thing, though, which is that all these pieces were designed to fit together. That includes the employer mandate. Without that penalty, employers would already be jettisoning health-insurance coverage and providing a lump-sum compensation boost instead. That would completely disrupt the insurance markets, force even higher premium increases, and exponentially increase the anger from the public over ObamaCare. The Obama administration and Democrats need the employer mandate in place in order to survive the next couple of election cycles. Don’t expect Democrats on Capitol Hill to let employers out of that cage, especially while the mandate stays in place on individuals. Otherwise, they will lose one of their biggest levers of power in this new command economy.