WASHINGTON—U.S. Sens. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) today joined their Republican Senate colleagues in urging President Obama to permanently delay implementing costly mandates in the health care law for all Americans. Last week, the Obama administration announced that after hearing concerns from the business community it will delay implementation of the employer mandate until 2015.
Johanns said, “The Administration’s decision to postpone implementation of the employer mandate is needed, but they shouldn’t stop there. Now is the time for the Obama Administration to admit that this entire law is too complex, too costly and too corrosive to our economic recovery. We need to put on the brakes and ensure the provisions of this law that are costly to hardworking families are permanently delayed.”
Fischer said, “The delay of the employer mandate reinforces what Nebraskans have suspected all along: the president's health care law is costly, unworkable, and incapable of living up to its billing. Instead of extending temporary relief from these burdensome requirements to some, the administration should permanently delay the implementation of this disastrous law for all American families and businesses.”
In the letter to President Obama, Johanns and Fischer write, “[W]hile your action finally acknowledges some of the many burdens this law will place on job creators, we believe the rest of this law should be permanently delayed for everyone in order to avoid significant economic harm to American families.”
Below is the text of the senators’ letter:
July 10, 2013
The Honorable Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
We write to express concern that in your recent decision to delay implementation of the employer mandate, you have unilaterally acted and failed to work with Congress on such a significant decision. Further, while your action finally acknowledges some of the many burdens this law will place on job creators, we believe the rest of this law should be permanently delayed for everyone in order to avoid significant economic harm to American families.
In response to questions about the administration’s decision, your senior advisor Valerie Jarrett said, “We are listening,” while referring to the concerns of the business community over the onerous employer mandate that will result in fewer jobs and employees working fewer hours. We have been listening as well, and as more employers have attempted to understand your burdensome requirements in the Affordable Care Act, the louder their outrage has become.
We are also listening to the views of the American people. A recent Gallup poll from June of 2013 showed that a majority of Americans disapprove of the Affordable Care Act. The same survey revealed that for every one person who believes they will be better off under the Affordable Care Act, two believe they will be worse off. Opposition to your health law is growing, and it will continue to grow as more Americans realize that the law is built upon broken promises and will result in higher health care costs and more taxes.
Under the individual mandate, the IRS, which is still under multiple investigations for unfairly targeting conservative groups, will play a central role in the implementation of the health care law in our country. Last fall, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that nearly six million Americans, primarily in the middle class, will have to pay a tax under the individual mandate, which was two million more than previously estimated. When the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, the average individual mandate tax will be nearly $1,200, which clearly contradicts your previous statement that the individual mandate “is absolutely not a tax increase.”
Further, families are facing significant increases in premiums. Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an analysis of premiums and concluded that under your law some Americans will see their premiums “double or even triple,” which is the opposite of your promise that premiums will go down by $2,500 for American families.
Given the widely-held belief by the American people that the Affordable Care Act will not fulfill its promises and will result in higher costs for American families, we implore you to listen to the American people. This law is unworkable and harmful to the economy and to American families, and your actions to delay the employer mandate are an acknowledgement of this fact. While your recent action provides temporary relief for some, we believe that all Americans deserve permanent relief from this onerous law, so that we can adopt common-sense reforms that will actually lower costs and that Americans support.