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Health care law foes seek delay

| Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 8:09 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans pressed President Obama on Tuesday to delay a requirement under his health care law for Americans to obtain insurance next year because the administration gave employers a one-year reprieve from having to provide it to staff.

The Treasury and White House announced last week that businesses would not be required to offer health coverage, or pay a fine, in 2014 because the administration had not issued final regulations in time for employers to comply.

The move sparked a new wave of Republican efforts to discredit Obama's health care reform law and raised questions about whether the effort will be enacted as planned.

In a letter to Obama signed by Speaker John Boehner and 10 other leading House Republicans, they asked for a detailed explanation of the delay of the “employer mandate,” asking for a reply from the president by Aug. 1.

“Please ... provide to Congress your justification for only delaying the employer mandate at this time and not the new mandate on individuals and families,” they wrote. “We agree with you that the burden was overwhelming for employers, but we also believe American families need the same relief.”

But White House spokesman Jay Carney said the individual mandate would go forward because Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides financial assistance to help lower-income people pay for insurance while exempting those who cannot afford coverage.

“Next year, millions of Americans will get the help they need to purchase quality health insurance they currently cannot afford,” he said.

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