The House will hold two Obamacare votes next week, Speaker John Boehner said Thursday. One would delay the start of the law's individual mandate and a second vote to delay the start of the employer mandate, something the White House already did last week.
Republicans are seizing on that July 2 decision — to delay the employer madate one year to 2015 yet keep the 2014 deadline for individuals to have insurance — as an issue of fairness.
"The president delayed Obamacare’s employer mandate, but he hasn't delayed the mandate on individuals and families," Boehner told reporters Thursday. "This is unfair, and it is indefensible."
Most individuals and families will be required to have health insurance by next year, whether they get it from their employer, buy it through state insurance exchanges, or purchase it elsewhere. The law provides individuals with federal subsidies of up to $5,000 based on economic need.
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The Republican-controlled House has voted 37 times to repeal Obamacare. Now Republicans feel they can put Democrats on the spot, forcing them to keep the mandate for individuals, but not large businesses.
"If you're a software company making billions in profits, you're exempt from Obamacare next year," Boehner said. "But if you're a 28-year-old struggling to pay off your student loans, you're not.
"If you're a big bank or financial company, you don't have to comply with Obamacare," he said. "But if you're a single parent trying to make ends meet, there's no exemption for you."
It would be unfair to protect big business from Obamacare but not individuals and families, said Boehner.
The employer mandate applies to companies with at least 50 workers, and originally would have required those employers to provide healthcare insurance by 2014 or pay fines. The one-year delay is expected to cost the federal government $10 billion
in lost fines.
Individuals still must have coverage by Jan. 1 or face fines.
The White House has defended its decision to postpone the employer mandate, insisting that businesses need more time to comply with the law.
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