Led by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the U.S. House of Representatives voted late Wednesday to delay by one year the implementation of the individual health insurance mandate, which was to begin on Jan. 1, 2014, under the Affordable Care Act, according to evening reports from ABC News. In a separate vote, the House gave affirmation to President Obama’s decision to delay the employer benefits mandate by one year, as was announced by the Obama Administration earlier this month.
Before any official changes can take place in the actual deadlines for compliance with the individual mandates, the Democrat-controlled Senate also will have to grapple with the subject of delaying the individual insurance mandate, which was one of the most highly contested elements of the Supreme Court’s June 2012 decision to rule the Affordable Care Act as constitutional.
"This is about basic fairness," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said during a news conference late Wednesday. "If the president believes that the employer mandate is too much for the employer community, how about basic fairness for American families and individuals?"
White House spokesman Jay Carney characterized the House bills as part of a larger Republican effort to undermine the healthcare law before patients can receive its help, according to Congressional watchdog site The Hill. "There are few things more cynical than the House Republicans, who have made it their mission in life to repeal the Affordable Care Act and deny the American people the benefits that they would receive," Carney said at a White House press conference Wednesday.
The House voted 251-174 to delay the individual insurance mandate, and voted 264-161 to delay the employer mandate. Each vote included more than 20 democrats, according to ABC News.