By Rep Phil Gingrey
The Obama administration's announcement it will delay implementation of the employer mandate due to the enormous regulatory burden on businesses is proof positive that the law is a job-killer.
The administration's excuse for delay was to simplify reporting requirements for small businesses, but employers haven't been against the mandate solely due to its burdensome reporting requirements. While it's estimated that Obamacare will require American job creators, families, and health care providers to spend more than 127 million hours a year on compliance with the law, of far greater concern to business owners is the impact the mandate will have on job creation.
The cost of the health insurance and Obamacare's fines will drive up the cost of labor and will continue to be a drag on the economy. This is further evidence that the administration does not get how the law will impact the economy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported that 72 percent of small business executives would have a harder time hiring because of Obamacare. The employer mandate has been cited by business owners repeatedly as a major obstacle to expansion. They simply cannot afford it.
At a recent small business roundtable, one Georgia business owner said, "I want to provide health insurance for my employees. Obamacare has forced me to choose between that and hiring new people."
President Obama's announcement doesn't reduce the harmful effects the mandate will have on employers moving forward. It could, however, provide cover for Democrats during an election year. This political calculation protects them from voter backlash and from the reality that Obamacare--"their" law--is to blame for an economy hemorrhaging jobs. This is yet another example of the Obama administration replacing the rule of law with partisan politics.
This unilateral decision is an abuse of executive power and a clear demonstration President Obama will disregard the very laws he signed for political gain. In 2010, Democrats in Congress determined enforcement of the egregious employer mandate would begin on January 1, 2014. As bad as the law may be, the Administration does not have the power to re-write the law--that responsibility belongs to Congress.
Legalities aside, postponing the mandate for one year is not enough. It simply delays the inevitable. When it's eventually enacted, hours will still be cut and pay will still be reduced. Businesses hovering just under the 50-employee threshold will still have to weigh the costs of expansion, and because of the requirement, many will be unable to grow.
The federal takeover of one-sixth the economy raises taxes on small business owners and middle class families, guts Medicare, and will irreparably harm the doctor-patient relationship. Instead, we need state-based reforms that will lower costs, give patients more control of their insurance policies, increase access, and ensure a high standard of care.