Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

September 2, 2013

Sen. Coats to seek delay of health act

Indiana lawmakers say country not ready to implement Obamacare

When Congress reconvenes next week, Indiana Sen. Dan Coats will be pushing for a vote to delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Open enrollment for the health exchanges is scheduled to begin on Oct. 1, but Coats and fellow Republicans believe the entire legislative package should be delayed.

Coats, R-Ind., wants to repeal the health care law so it can be replaced by better reforms, but is opposed to calls by some Republicans to shut down government operations, Tara DiJulio, his communications director, said.

“Sen. Coats believes the strategy should be to fully delay the entire health care law, like passed by the U.S. House, and then let the American people decide Obamacare’s fate in 2014,” she said of the upcoming mid-term elections.

DiJulio said Coats supports legislation that would defund provisions in Obamacare if the health care exchanges are not ready to enroll qualified Americans by the deadline.

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., is supportive of the president’s decision to delay for one year penalties to employers of more than 50 people who are not able to provide health insurance.

Donnelly is co-sponsoring legislation with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that would change the definition of a full-time employee in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to someone who works an average of 40 hours per week or 174 hours per month.

Currently, the Affordable Care Act defines a full-time employee as someone who works an average of at least 30 hours per week.

Rep. Susan Brooks, R-5th District, said the House made the right decision in voting to delay implementation.

“I don’t believe the exchanges are ready, I don’t believe anything is ready to go,” Brooks said. “The president delayed the mandate for businesses; we took the vote because we didn’t believe he had the authority to delay it. We voted to delay it for businesses and individuals.”

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