"There's no doubt that this law is going to have to be perfected along the way," President Obama's former senior advisor, David Axelrod, told the crew of "Morning Joe" Friday, about the chief executive's decision to delay Obamacare's individual mandate.
"They're not violating the spirit of the law, all of those provisions are going to move forward," Axelrod said.
Well, not all of them. The New York Times reported Monday that, contrary to law, the Labor Department would not be enforcing the Obamacare's limit on health care out-of-pocket costs.
Also not moving forward are Obamacare's IRS Form 1099 reporting requirements, the CLASS Act, or any new funding for Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans. Those are just some of the seven bills, passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and signed by Obama, either defunding or repealing parts of Obamacare.
In other words, as long as the solution is shrinking the size and scope of the federal government, Republicans have proven very open to "fixing" Obamacare.
But that is not good enough for Obama. On Aug. 9, after Fox News' Ed Henry questioned the legality of Obama's employer-mandate delay, Obama shot back, "In a normal political environment, it would have been easier for me to simply call up the Speaker and say, you know what, this is a tweak that doesn't go to the essence of the law, it looks like there may be some better ways to do this; let's make a technical change to the law. That would be the normal thing that I would prefer to do."
Except this is simply false. Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, voted with all House Republicans, and 35 Democrats, to codify the exact same employer-mandate delay that Obama implemented by fiat. And what did Obama do before the vote? He issued an official veto threat! So much for simply calling up the speaker to make a minor fix.
Some on the left, including the Washington Post's Ezra Klein, have gone as far as saying that Obamacare's employer mandate is such terrible public policy that it should be repealed entirely.
Klein notes that Obamacare's employer mandate creates an administrative and cost burden on employers, provides an incentive for employers to move their workforce from full-time to part-time workers, and even encourages employers to fire workers who come from low- and moderate-income families.
Klein thinks this can all be done painlessly since, he says, the mandate only directly "affects relatively few employers." But those employers it affects employ a lot of people, and the regulatory scheme involved affected the decision making of all firms.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, Obama's one-year delay will cost the federal government $12 billion, force 500,000 Americans out of their current employer-provided insurance and on to Medicaid, and leave another 500,000 Americans without health insurance entirely. And, the CBO adds, those numbers will only rise if the employer mandate is repealed permanently.
Where do Democrats plan on finding the $120-plus-billion it will cost to repeal the employer mandate? How is throwing 500,000 Americans out of their current insurance and onto Medicaid, and forcing another 500,000 out of their current health insurance entirely, consistent with Obama's "essence" and Axelrod's "spirit" of Obamacare?
Axelrod is absolutely correct when he says no one expected Obamacare to be implemented as written and that it would have to be "perfected along the way." Problem is, the left's idea of "perfection" is single-payer health care, a solution far to the left of where the vast majority of Americans are on the issue.
But Democrats can never admit that their only "fix" for Obamacare is to move further down the road to single-payer. Instead, Obama is going to rewrite Obamacare unilaterally and dare Republicans in Congress to do something about it.