This February, the White House announced a further one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act’s mandate for medium-sized employers to provide health insurance for their employees. The ACA has been the source of a great deal of controversy ever since its passage in 2010 but, following this latest delay, some experts are beginning to doubt whether the legislation will ever be fully implemented.
Peter Helix, a conservative health policy analyst best known for spearheading the successful ballot initiative to ban teleportation in North Carolina, explained that the implementation of “Obamacare”—or, as he confusingly still calls it, the ACA—has become sort of a running joke in policy circles. “For years, conservatives argued that the constant delays were a source of uncertainty that would limit hiring,” Helix noted, his holopresence crackling slightly due to interference from a passing scramjet, “but after nearly a century and a half of postponement, the only certain thing is that it will keep being delayed. The president doesn’t want this mess on her hands, especially not with midterms coming up.”
Senator Matteo Henriquez-Obama (R-N.G.)—who is rumored to be forming an exploratory committee to seek his party’s nomination in 2148—seems to agree with this sentiment. “Newties hate the ACA,” Henriquez-Obama told the HPR (“Newtie” being a moniker adopted by New Georgians in honor of their state’s founder), “and the president finally got the message from the working people of the swing state of New Georgia. The mandate would hurt my constituents in the lunar mining communities, which is why I’m fighting for more than just another delay. We need #fullrepeal now.”
Members of the president’s own party have been cautiously supportive of this delay. “There are just a few kinks that need to be worked out, that’s all,” according to Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.). Rangel continued, “The 35th Amendment clearly states that the president has the authority to postpone the implementation of portions of the ACA, and if she chooses to do it, she can. I don’t remember any complaints from the right when the last 19 of their administrations delayed the employer mandate; it’s hypocrisy, pure and simple.”
In recent press events, President Chiao has appeared unwilling to comment on the ACA’s latest developments. When pressed for comment on the delay by a reporter from Buzzfeed-New York Times, Chiao hastily changed the subject to her administration’s latest initiative to deal with the growing cloned mammoth problem in the Arctic states. At a later event, Press Secretary Randall Newton told reporters that the administration believed a “phase-in” process for the employer mandate was necessary. Newton then quickly shifted to other topics.
As the debate over the merits and motivations of the president’s decision continues, Congress remains incapable of finding a legislative solution to the ongoing controversy. Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed the 1,208th bill repealing the ACA, but finding the 84 votes needed to achieve a filibuster-proof three-fifths majority in the Senate appears unlikely before Congress lets out for flood season.