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House Committee Spars Over Employer Mandate

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, July 11, 2013

Brady provided a grocery list of "delays and failures" of healthcare reform. "The CLASS Act proved unworkable and was abandoned. The onerous 1099 reporting mandate was overwhelmingly repealed. The exchanges promised for small businesses failed to be ready on time and were delayed. Significant parts of the law were found unconstitutional, 34 states have chosen not to build state exchanges, the technology-intensive data hub key to ObamaCare isn't ready, [and] the Navigator grants have not gone out to local communities. The list is growing, not shrinking as we get closer to October 1," which is the date for the implementation of the cornerstone of PPACA—the health insurance marketplaces.

Jim McDermott, (D-WA), the ranking committee member, reminded that committee that it is "our job to continue to shape and guide reform so that it best serves the American people… to focus on policy not politics. There's been a lot of noise from both sides of the aisle… but no one really knows what this shift means."

In a sharp rebuke, McDermott noted that "the irony of objecting to the delay of a program you have been trying to stop is no doubt lost on this room." That was a reference to HR 903, which would repeal provisions of PPACA that require employers with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance coverage.

The five witnesses presented testimony and answer questions from the committee: Avik Roy, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a think tank; James Capretta, fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC; William Dennis, Jr., senior research fellow at the National Federation of Independent Business; Sean Falk, a business owner representing the International Franchise Association; and Timothy Jost, a professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law.

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