Four Augusts ago, Congress was busy passing — in order to find out what was in it — a different mammoth, because “comprehensive,” bill. During the August 2009 recess, legislators conducted often-tumultuous town hall meetings, where they discovered that intensity resided disproportionately among opponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Opponents’ anger was registered emphatically in congressional elections 15 months later, which is one reason why implementation of the act’s most onerous provisions was delayed until 2014, after the 2012 presidential election.
The act PPACA remains unpopular, and there are congressional elections in years divisible by two — not even the Obama administration can ignore that constitutional fact — so last Tuesday, the administration said this about the act’s mandate that in 2014, large employers provide expensive health-care coverage for their workers or pay a substantial penalty: Never mind.
Although the Constitution has no Article VIII, the administration acts as though there is one that reads: “Notwithstanding all that stuff in other articles about how laws are made, if a president finds a law politically inconvenient, he can simply post on the White House Web site a notice saying: Never mind.”
Never mind that the law stipulates 2014 as the year when employers with 50 full-time workers are mandated to offer them health-care coverage or pay fines. Instead, 2015 will be the year. Unless Democrats see a presidential election coming.