Allahpundit and I each wrote about this issue after the Wall Street Journal exposed it earlier in the week, and now Republican leadership is taking notice:

“The Obama Administration once again tried to sneak through a unilateral change to ObamaCare which essentially allows anyone who has experienced a hardship in obtaining health insurance to opt out of the individual mandate tax without requiring documentation. It’s no surprise that the Administration tried to sneak this through after spending years attacking Republicans for wanting to spare Americans from this very mandate. These backdoor changes to the law have to stop. Republicans agree that Americans should not be subject to ObamaCare’s mandate tax and will vote tomorrow to delay it for five years and use those savings to protect Medicare for our nation’s seniors. The fact that the Obama Administration threatens to veto Congressional actions that mirror what they are secretly doing is embarrassing, and deserves an explanation. Do House Democrats who voted in favor of the individual mandate support this unilateral delay? It is about time the White House and Democrats say one way or the other whether they want to ever see the full implementation of ObamaCare. Let’s stop playing games, and legally delay these penalties that clearly the Obama Administration even admits are destructive.”

Sure enough, the House advanced the five-year delay bill yesterday afternoon and is expected to pass it later today.  Just three Democrats joined Republicans in yesterday’s procedural vote.  Congressional Democrats are dead set against codifying the administration’s actions, which Ed noted earlier.  As Cantor says, the White House routinely threatens to veto acts of Congress that would “mirror what [Obama is] secretly doing.”  The Huffington Post dutifully denounces the GOP plan, citing a CBO report indicating that a five-year postponement of the unpopular individual mandate tax would — gasp — raise premiums and result in 13 million more uninsured Americans.  Question: What untold horrors might we expect from the president’s unilateral action to impose a sweeping, two-year “hardship waiver” for the mandate tax?  Liberals are angry at Republicans for trying to formalize the president’s own decrees.  Beyond that, Obamacare is already failing to attract the overwhelming majority of previously-uninsured Americans (due primarily to high costs), and is projected to leave at least 30 million people without coverage.  And higher premiums, you say?  Perish the thought.  We already know that costly mandates, unsound risk pools, and endless uncertainty are forcing premiums up.

Do opponents of this Republican bill believe uninsured Americans who can’t afford Obamacare’s rates — even after the subsidies — should be taxed for the privilege of remaining uncovered?  Yes or no?

I discussed the president’s de facto individual mandate tax delay on Fox Business Network last night:

UPDATE – The House bill has passed, 237-182, with a dozen Democrats joining the GOP.