No time to go wobbly on reform
Kansas City Star: The Obama administration’s decision to postpone a significant part of the Affordable Care Act doesn’t mean the law is collapsing, as its opponents have proclaimed. Many important provisions are already in place, and more are on schedule to be phased in this year.
But the announcement that enforcement of the employer mandate will be pushed back a year, until 2015, does indicate how complex a job it is to get the law into place, especially in the face of determined opposition from Republicans in Congress and state legislatures.
It also reflects the administration’s willingness to accommodate the business sector — a stance with its limits. The law is a series of interlocking parts, and an olive branch extended here may create a hole elsewhere.
The decision to delay thrilled business groups, and a one-year delay shouldn’t adversely affect the rollout of the rest of the law. In a more functional political environment, Congress would use the extra time to find a better way of determining which employees are eligible for health benefits than an arbitrary 30-hour-a-week limit.
But the trickiest and most important aspects of the law must still be put into place, and the process won’t work unless businesses do their share. Obama and others have worked too hard on health care reform to go wobbly now.