[Editor’s note: The following is a letter from U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, signed by U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., and nine other House members, to President Obama asking for details on the delay of the employer mandate portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”]
Dear Mr. President:
Last week, your administration announced it would unilaterally delay another provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). This part of the law imposed penalties on employers if they did not comply with the new regulations included in the law. As you know, this was only the latest unilateral delay or change to the law taken by your administration.
We agree with you that many of the provisions in the law cannot be implemented within the current time frame; but we strongly disagree with you that time will ever remedy these predictable consequences of the law. Many have predicted the problems that your Administration now acknowledges, and each provision you delay continues to demonstrate that the entire law is unworkable.
PPACA places an enormous new burden on employers that clearly contributes to the economy and job growth remaining relatively stagnant. We recognize that the decision to delay the employer mandate was likely not a decision you made in only a day and necessarily required substantial review by analysts at the Department of the Treasury, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor, as well as the Office of Management and Budget.
Your decision to delay one part of the law affecting employers and leave in place provisions regulating individual and family health care creates many new questions and concerns. In order to fully understand the implications of your decision, please provide to Congress any analysis conducted by the agencies regarding the impact of the delay in the employer mandate with respect to:
• the change in the number of individuals receiving subsidies through the exchange for calendar year 2014;
• the change in the number of individuals expected to pay the individual mandate penalty for calendar year 2014;
• the change in the number of employers who currently provide health care coverage;
• changes in federal outlays and revenues;
• changes in enrollment in Medicaid for calendar year 2014;
• the impact of the employer mandate on increasing the number of individuals working part-time involuntarily and business reducing the number of hours employees work to below 30 hours;
• the impact on the ability of the IRS and Health care Exchanges to accurately verify and prevent fraud regarding individual eligibility for premium tax credits and cost sharing subsidies;
• the legality of the decision to unilaterally delay the mandate; and
• the economic impact.
Please also provide to Congress your justification for only delaying the employer mandate at this time and not the new mandate on individuals and families. We agree with you that the burden was overwhelming for employers, but we also believe American families need the same relief.
In addition to the analysis requested above, please provide to us a complete list of all other provisions in the law that you expect to delay before Oct. 1.
Because the unilateral changes to this complicated law were surely made with a great deal of data, review and input, we believe it is reasonable to request answers to these questions by Aug. 1.
We look forward to your response.
— U.S. Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, is speaker of the House.