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News Analysis: U.S. Republicans could use Obamacare against Democrats in 2014 elections

English.news.cn   2014-02-14 05:39:27

By Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Republicans could use ongoing problems with President Barack Obama's healthcare rollout as fodder against Democrats ahead of this year's mid-term Congressional elections.

In the latest in a string of problems with the healthcare reform's rollout, the Obama administration on Monday announced a delay in the implementation of the president's signature healthcare overhaul, or Obamacare. Now, companies employing between 50 and 99 people will have until 2016 a one-year extension to offer health insurance to employees, a new requirement under the legislation.

That spurred House Speaker John Boehner to bill the White House 's decision as favoring corporations, as families and individuals are still required to purchase healthcare coverage or face a fine.

"We're likely to see Republicans attack the law in 2014 just as they did in 2010 and 2012," Christopher Galdieri, assistant professor at Saint Anselm College, told Xinhua.

He added that Democrats will counter criticism by pointing to the benefits of ending the phenomenon of people being locked into jobs they dislike or don't want, just so they can keep their insurance.

Indeed, with insurance coverage historically provided by employers, Obamacare will allow people to leave jobs they don't like while remaining insured, an option many did not have before. The White House has said people could use the extra time to care for children or ailing parents.

But critics contended the middle class will have to pick up the tab, and the head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office last week said that provides a disincentive for people to work. Republicans will likely continue to use the arguments against the Democrats in the run-up to November's elections.

Small business organizations this week blasted Obamacare's most recent hiccup.

"(The delay) is simply the latest indicator that this law is not ready for prime time and has systemic flaws that need to be corrected permanently," said Amanda Austin, director of federal public policy at the National Federation of Independent Businesses, in a statement Tuesday.

Echoing those sentiments, Franchise Association President and CEO Steve Caldeira said in a statement the announcement is "just another delay that while positive in the short term for some franchises, only postpones the inevitable and demonstrates the Affordable Care Act remains a significant problem for employers to implement."

He added that the administration has "placed another complicated hurdle on the backs of the small business community."

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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