The July 3rd Treasury Department blog post (who says blogging is dead?) announcing that the Obama Administration was delaying enforcement of the employer mandate has given rise to a number of questions, to wit:
1. Ha! Ha! Ha! Are you kidding?! I thought there was a deadly crisis in the American health care system!
2. What happened to the fierce urgency of now?
3. Is this even legal? Can the president just unilaterally suspend enforcement of a statute? Well, this one does, but what about a real president like Bush or Clinton? ("Real" in this case means a president who actually faces an adversarial press and effective opposition).
4. Is this going to turn into one of those annual legislative "patches," like the Medicare "doc fix" and the now-ended AMT "patch?"
5. What about the individual mandate? Is that still full steam ahead? Way to look out for the interests of regular people as opposed to those of Big (and Biggish) Business, Mr. Progressive!
6. What does this do to all of those glowing CBO projections that happy Dems were waving around a few years ago?
7. What does this do to the state exchanges?
8. Isn't there an employer reporting mandate, too? Is that suspended?
9. I know administrative officials have been busy doing the People's Business like crafting Sandra Fluke talking points, and drafting harassing IRS audits of Tea Party activists, but has anyone actually been doing any work to implement Obamacare? You've had 3 years! Say what you will about FDR and LBJ, but when they implemented destructive social legislation, they did it right away. What have you guys been doing?
10. It's an article of faith on the left that the GOP is the Stupid Party, and Tea Partiers/Conservatives are especially dim, but, admit it Lefties, this is pretty stupid, isn't it?
11. Is all of this some crafty back-door means of getting employers out of the health care insurance business and end the inequitable tax treatment of employer-provided health care benefits? If, yes, that wouldn't be such a bad result since many, many complaints about the health insurance system can be traced back to the third-party payer dynamic created between employers, doctors and patients. But, it's probably not, and if there was some crafty, back-door shiftiness going on, it would be in the creation of a single-payer (i.e. gov't) system.
12. Remember this smug White House tweet in response to GOP requests to describe Obamacare in three words?
Haw! Haw! It is?
Of course, all of these questions are unanswerable because no one looks to be planning to discomfit Obama or his underlings with any of them. The Obama-ites have clearly calculated that 'tis the better part of valor to delay enforcement of the employer mandate beyond the 2014 election, rather than face the wrath of voters feeling the weight of a fully operational battlesta...(excuse me) health care reform law.
The obvious play for the GOP is to pass enabling legislation to suspend the whole of the Obamacare law, or at least the individual and employer mandates, and then let Dems explain why only the employer mandate should be subject to suspension. Oh sure, they'll f*** it up somehow, and end up looking like cruel accountants turning off ventilators, but it's hard to see how you end up looking the bad guy when it's the progressive hero himself who is turning his own law upside down.