With midterm elections approaching, the White House has again delayed some of the more unpopular portions of the Affordable Care Act. As the NYT reports, the announced delays go much further than the earlier reprieves,
“essentially stalling for two more years one of the central tenets of the much-debated law, which was supposed to eliminate what White House officials called substandard insurance and junk policies.
The extension could help Democrats in tight midterm election races because it may avoid the cancellation of policies that would otherwise have occurred at the height of the political campaign season this fall.”
As Megan McArdle (who predicted this outcome months ago) concludes:
This is President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, the program for which he will be remembered. And he doesn’t have the courage to defend it, even when he is no longer facing re-election. If he won’t stand up for the hard choices his law requires, he can’t think that anyone else will either.
A few quick questions:
- Why should the Republican Congress waste anymore time voting to repeal Obamacare (number 50 occurred this week) when the President seems quite capable of repealing it on his own through executive action?
- How much of a law can a president delay and rewrite before someone begins to suspect that he has no intention to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed”?
- What will keep a future administration from adopting the same tactics to delay implementation (forever)? One assumes there will always be another election on the horizon.