Near the end of a fiery speech in which he decried Republicans’ opposition to his signature legislative achievement, President Barack Obama’s administration announced it was delaying another piece of the Affordable Care Act’s implementation.
Politico reports that the Obama administration will push back online enrollment in some of the small-business exchanges that are scheduled to open on Oct. 1. Small businesses looking to enroll in coverage on the “SHOP” exchanges will have to submit a paper application, instead.
The announcement is likely to stoke flames within the Republican Party, which has been pushing to defund and/or delay Obamacare through battles to avert a government shutdown and over raising the debt ceiling.
It came the same day that Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W. Va.) — who has been no fan of the law for quite some time — said he would support a one-year delay of the individual mandate feature that requires all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a fine.
And it came just as Obama was delivering one of his most impassioned speeches on the subject and the situation, accusing Republicans of “blackmail.” During certain points of his speech in Largo, Md., he seemed to genuinely enjoy ridiculing Republicans.
“One congressman said that Obamacare is the most dangerous piece of legislation ever passed,” Obama said. “Ever, in the history of America. This is the most dangerous piece of legislation.”
“You had a state representative somewhere say that it’s as destructive to personal and individual liberty as the Fugitive Slave Act,” Obama added, referring to a New Hampshire state representative’s comments from August. “Think about that. Affordable health care is worse than a law that lets slave owners get their runaway slaves back. I mean, these are quotes. I’m not making this stuff up.”
Republicans seized on the reported delay to argue the law isn’t ready to be implemented.
“Unbelievable, did anyone tell the president that his administration is delaying another piece of Obamacare before he tried swindling the American people again?” RNC Chair Reince Priebus said in a statement. “It’s clear all Americans deserve a delay from this trainwreck. Maybe even more Democrats will get on board with Republican efforts now.”
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