What 3 years of ObamaCare incompetence tells us about the White House

The administration is gradually scaling back its signature legislation — just as critics have long demanded

Is President Obama's signature legislative achievement turning into a messy failure?
(Image credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

When the Affordable Care Act was first introduced in 2009, critics called the massive government expansion into the private health-insurance industry an unworkable mess. More than three years later, the Obama administration seems to be making the same argument in support of a series of waivers to provisions due to be enforced later this year or early in 2014. A series of retreats on implementing the requirements of ObamaCare highlights the massive complexity in the legislation as well as the inability of the administration to manage its own highest priority.

The first sounding of retreat came last week as most Americans paid more attention to their holiday plans than news coming out of Washington. The administration announced that after more than three years, officials still couldn't figure out how to apply the employer mandate and would therefore waive the requirement until January 2015, rather than the original date of January 2014. The business community had loudly protested the mandate, claiming that it increased costs of hiring and of maintaining full-time employment both by requiring coverage and by tightening the conditions of approval of health insurance. However, the mandate is part of an elaborate effort to minimize the application of taxpayer subsidies for individual purchases of health insurance by forcing employers to either cover their employees or pay a fine for non-compliance to the IRS, based on monthly reporting. Waiving the requirement, even for a short time, will cost taxpayers $10 billion in fines that was supposed to help fund those subsidies.

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Edward Morrissey

Edward Morrissey has been writing about politics since 2003 in his blog, Captain's Quarters, and now writes for HotAir.com. His columns have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, The New York Sun, the Washington Times, and other newspapers. Morrissey has a daily Internet talk show on politics and culture at Hot Air. Since 2004, Morrissey has had a weekend talk radio show in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and often fills in as a guest on Salem Radio Network's nationally-syndicated shows. He lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, and his two granddaughters. Morrissey's new book, GOING RED, will be published by Crown Forum on April 5, 2016.