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Everyone's worried about Democraticare

Democrats' health care reform defines full-time work as 30 hours a week and requires employers to provide health care coverage to all such employees.

Earlier this month, responding to pleas from businesses and labor unions, President Obama unilaterally announced that he would not enforce the so-called "employer mandate" on Jan. 1, 2014, as the law requires.

Instead, he pushed back enforcement of that multibillion-dollar provision until Jan. 1, 2015.

Unions had told Democratic leaders that their law created an incentive for employers to limit workers' hours so as to evade the costs.

Job losses in advance of the November 2014 election would not be politically advantageous.

But unions are not the only allies to develop a case of nerves.

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Monday that he is concerned about meeting the national party's deadline for expanding the Medicaid program.

West Virginians are to enroll in that program by Oct. 1, so they can enjoy subsidized coverage on Jan. 1, 2014. The state expects about 91,000 people to apply.

But Tomblin said the federal government hasn't given West Virginia enough information to take Medicaid applications and run an insurance exchange yet.

He, too, asked about possible extension of deadlines.

In the meantime, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 264-161 to delay the employer mandate and 251-174 to delay the so-called "individual mandate" as well.

The Huffington Post reported that 35 Democrats in the House broke with their party to delay the employer mandate, and 22 Democrats voted also to delay the individual mandate.

The smart money says the House measures have no chance in the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate.

Pity.

That preserves the political problem.

 


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