President Obama on Thursday will deliver another defense of his health care overhaul — as Republicans ratchet up scrutiny of his signature legislative achievement — arguing his administration is “holding insurance companies accountable,” the White House announced.
The White House is looking to blunt Republicans’ extensive focus on the Affordable Care Act in the wake of the administration deciding to delay until 2015 the mandate requiring employers to provide health insurance to their workers or pay a fine. House Republicans on Wednesday are scheduled to hold separate votes on bills that would delay both the employer provision and the individual mandate.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was quick to highlight a New York Times story that says individual insurance premiums in New York would drop at least 50 percent on average next year. Critics counter that New York already implements some of the provisions outlined in the president’s health care overhaul, and as such, those savings are being exaggerated.
On Capitol Hill, the votes on Obamacare are being devised to put Democrats in an awkward position. If they vote in support of delaying the employer mandate, Democrats could be perceived as admitting the president’s health care plan is flawed. Those who don’t will look like they are going against the president’s wishes — or at least that’s what Republicans are hoping.
The White House has said the president would veto both bills, even though they have no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The president gave a speech in California last month touting Obamacare, but those remarks were largely overshadowed by his first public response to Edward Snowden leaking details about American phone and Internet surveillance programs.