Beyond the Obamacare headlines

Journalism is a low-definition medium. To take only one example, it is virtually impossible to understand a fateful subject like Obamacare through the work of journalists. Not to pick on Laura Meckler or the Wall Street Journal (whose editorial page has set the standard for coverage of Obamacare), this really doesn’t cut it in an otherwise above-average article on last week’s announcement of a one-year delay in enforcement of the employer mandate: “One potential wrinkle, according to some legal experts, is that delaying the employer mandate could violate the law, which specifically directs that the provision begin after 2013. An administration official said the law offers that flexibility.” To be fair, however, although unmentioned by Meckler, the Journal editorial page has published Michael McConnell’s devastating critique of the delay.

If you want to begin to get a handle on the developments of the past week, I have two suggestions.

Take the time to read Assistant Treasury Secretary Mark Mazur’s post announcing the suspension of the employer mandate for one year. Consistent with the level of candor that the Obama administration has brought to all matters relating to Obamacare, Mazur posted his announcement under the heading Continuing to Implement [Obamacare] in a Careful, Thoughtful Manner.

And then read James Capretta’s testimony yesterday before the House Ways and Means Committee. Bill Kristol has posted Capretta’s testimony here. As Bill says, Capretta’s testimony is an excellent and judicious summary of the implications of the Obama administration’s decision to suspend the employer mandate and to adopt the liar’s loan approach to administration of subsidies on the state exchanges for 2014, which the administration promulgated by a 600-page regulation this past Friday. (I’m not asking you to read the regulation, but I’m working up to it myself.)

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