Obama was asked this question back in July, but seemed to sidestep it.
NYT: People questioned your legal and constitutional authority to do that unilaterally -- to delay the employer mandate. Did you consult with your lawyer?
This question stems from a decision in July to delay the employer mandate.
Second, we are giving businesses more time to comply. As we make these changes, we believe we need to give employers more time to comply with the new rules. Since employer responsibility payments can only be assessed based on this new reporting, payments won’t be collected for 2014.
The House, not believing that the Exeutive Branch has the authority to rewrite legislation passed H.R. 2667 Authority for Mandate Delay Act which would delay the mandate for businesses, and H.R. 2668 Fairness for American Families Act which would delay the individual mandate.
The presidents threatened to veto both H.R. 2667 and H. R. 2668
Then again, during President Obama’s August 9, 2013, news conference at the White House (Full audio and transcript here), he was asked the following question:
Q: OK, thank you. I want to ask you about two important dates that are coming up. October 1st, you're going to implement your signature health care law. You recently decided on your own to delay a key part of that. And I wonder, if you pick and choose what parts of the law to implement, couldn't your successor down the road pick and choose whether they'll implement your law and keep it in place?
With respect to health care, I didn't simply choose to delay this on my own. This was in consultation with businesses all across the country, many of whom are supportive of the Affordable Care Act, but -- and who -- many of whom, by the way, are already providing health insurance to their employees but were concerned about the operational details of changing their HR operations if they've got a lot of employees, which could be costly for them, and them suggesting that there may be easier ways to do this.
Now what's true, Ed, is that 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 has to do with, for example, are we able to simplify the attestation of employers as to whether they're already providing health insurance or not. It looks like there may be some better ways to do this. Let's make a technical change of the law.
That would be the normal thing that I would prefer to do, but we're not in a normal atmosphere around here when it comes to, quote- unquote, "Obamacare."
We did have the executive authority to do so, and we did so. But this doesn't go to the core of implementation.
So, under what executive authority grants the President the power to delay the employer mandate by a year as H.R. 2667 would do?
(1) REPORTING BY EMPLOYERS- Section 1514(d) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is amended by striking
December 31, 2013' and insertingDecember 31, 2014'.
(2) REPORTING BY INSURANCE PROVIDERS- Section 1502(e) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is amended by striking
2013' and inserting2014'.