The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

July 18, 2013

Obama to talk up health care law's rebates

(Continued)

The Republican-controlled House held two health care votes Wednesday, both largely along party lines.

The House voted 264-161 to affirm the administration's decision to delay what's known as the employer mandate, the requirement that businesses of a specific size offer health care coverage to their workers. The House also voted 251-174 to extend a similar delay to individual Americans who will be required to obtain health care coverage starting Jan. 1, or face fines.

The votes were held to score political points. The House measures have no chance of clearing the Democratic-controlled Senate and the White House has said Obama would veto both if they were to reach his desk.

The goal of the health care law is to provide coverage to nearly 50 million uninsured people and lower skyrocketing costs, but the public remains skeptical about how their coverage may be affected. The administration's decision to delay the employer mandate only served to fuel more doubts.

"The president's health care law is a job-killing train wreck that is already hurting America's economy," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement issued after the votes. "Protecting big business from the president's health care law but denying the same relief to individuals and families is unfair and indefensible."

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