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Tangled up in Obamacare

The semi-private announcement of the delay in implementation of the Obamacare employment mandate conceals a mystery. Byron York reports:

Treasury Department official Mark Mazur called the delay “transition relief.” “We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively,” Mazur wrote late Tuesday. “We have listened to your feedback. And we are taking action.”

The move stunned Republicans in Congress, who immediately asked: Whose feedback? What businesses were meeting with the White House? What deals did they make?

“These communications and the decision-making process related to the delay… have not been disclosed publicly,” wrote House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton in a letter to the Treasury Department and the Department of Health and Human Services. Along with 13 other Republican committee members, Upton demanded the administration reveal which businesses and which government officials were involved in the decision.

Both the background and meaning of the delay are shrouded in mystery. This much, however, is clear:

Obamacare is designed to increase the number of Americans who depend on the government to pay for health insurance. It will expand the Medicaid rolls, and it will give subsidies to millions of individuals and families to purchase insurance on the exchanges. In all, the government will be transferring hundreds of billions of dollars to Americans for health coverage.

The White House knows that once those payments begin, repealing Obamacare will no longer be an abstract question of removing legislation not yet in effect. Instead, it will be a very real matter of taking money away from people. It’s very, very hard to do that.

So yes, retreating on the employer mandate was a big deal. But the White House would rather do that than endanger the flow of money that is the heart of Obamacare. The White House will not waver on that, no matter what Republicans say or do.

As matters stand now, tangling Americans up in Obamacare commences October 1.

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