Senators request "permanent delay" of Affordable Care Act

Posted on July 11, 2013

Longtime proponents of repealing the Affordable Care Act, Senate Republicans emerged Wednesday with a new tactic to stall President Barack Obama's signature policy—requesting a permanent delay. 

All 46 Republicans signed a letter sent to Obama, requesting that he "work with Congress" to shelf the law for good. Among the signees to the letter were Tennessee Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander. 

"We believe the rest of this law should be permanently delayed for everyone in order to avoid significant economic harm to American families," the letter reads. 

The senators' request comes one week after the Obama administration announced a key provision of the law set to be implemented in 2014 would be delayed for a year. Known as the employer mandate, employers at companies with 50 or more workers will be required to provide health coverage for their employees or pay a penalty to the government of $2,000 per employee to compensate for costs. 

Under the delay, the employer mandate won't go into effect until 2015—well past next year's midterm elections. 

The senators argued that if businesses were being exempt from the employer mandate for a year, the same delay should apply to individuals who would be required to obtain health coverage under the law. 

The group also repeatedly cited a June 2013 Gallup poll, which showed 52 percent of Americans did not generally approve of the Affordable Care Act. 

In a news release, Alexander said Tennesseans would be left on the hook for costs related to the new law. 

"Tennessee families can't afford this law, but they'll be the ones left paying the bill now that the president is giving businesses a one-year delay while maintaining the mandates on individual families," Alexander said. 

Also on Tuesday, Republican House leaders indicated they would move forward with legislation to delay the individual mandate for at least one year. According to a National Review report, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor called on his colleagues, gathered in a closed-door meeting, to pass a one-year delay of the provision to pair with the employer mandate delay.