Not far into its public education campaign for healthcare reform, the Obama administration last week touted what it sees as some of the law's best provisions, while the House voted to delay what it views as two of the worst.
The lower chamber capitalized on the administration's decision earlier this month to delay for one year the law's employer mandate when it approved the Authority for Mandate Delay Act from Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.) to write the administrative delay into statute. House members also passed the Fairness for American Families Act, by Rep. Todd Young (R-Ind.), which would postpone for a year the individual mandate that is a linchpin of the law. House Republicans now have tried dozens of times to repeal, defund or roll back President Barack Obama's signature domestic policy achievement.
Countering those moves to scuttle the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the administration released a report by HHS showing average premiums were lower than originally projected for health plans being offered on the state insurance exchanges. And Obama heralded more insurance rebates to consumers in a news conference that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called “a major speech to kick-start the defense of Obamacare.”
Thomas Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said there's no way for the Griffin and Young bills—which garnered support from 35 and 22 Democrats, respectively—to move beyond the House floor. “What you've got is a small number of Democrats sort of seeing a way in difficult districts of taking a vote they might be able to use to ward off some Republican attacks,” Mann said, adding that neither vote will have any bearing on the law.