As Nancy Pelosi of the House explained, we had to pass the bill to find out what is in it. And now various Democratic Senators have convinced Obama that we need to delay the bill to avoid finding out what's in it. The lead is that what the White House described as "junk" insurance plans will remain legal for two more years; buried is the news that unions have won an exemption from various fees which will be passed on to the less well connected:
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration, grappling with continued political fallout over its health care law, said Wednesday that it would allow consumers to renew health insurance policies that did not comply with the new law for two more years, pushing the issue well beyond this fall’s midterm elections.
The reprieve was the latest in a series of waivers, deadline extensions and unilateral actions by the administration that have drawn criticism from the law’s opponents and supporters, many saying President Obama was testing the limits of his powers.
The action reflects the difficulties Mr. Obama has faced in trying to build support for the Affordable Care Act and the uproar over his promise — which he later acknowledged had been overstated — that people who liked their insurance plans could keep them, no matter what.
Buried in the coverage is Obama's war on women:
The health care law sets dozens of federal standards for insurance, requiring coverage of services in 10 specific areas and providing many consumer protections not found in older policies.
Under the transition policy announced by Mr. Obama in November, insurers “may choose to continue coverage that would otherwise be terminated or canceled.” Insurers were allowed to renew existing policies even if they did not provide the “essential health benefits” prescribed by law. In addition, the administration said, insurers could continue charging women more than men for those policies and could charge higher premiums based on a person’s health status, in violation of the new law.
A White House official said Wednesday that it would allow insurers to continue existing policies with renewals as late as Oct. 1, 2016, so individuals and small businesses could have noncompliant coverage well into 2017.
And very deep in the Times coverage is the union bone:
Under another policy announced by the administration on Wednesday, certain health plans will be exempt from new fees imposed on insurance companies and on many self-insured group health plans. Labor unions had been lobbying for such an exemption, saying the fees could be “highly disruptive” to Taft-Hartley plans administered jointly by labor and management representatives in construction, entertainment and other industries.
But Republicans denounced the change. “The administration’s decision to carve out its union cronies from the Obamacare fee is beyond egregious and will leave others with self-insured plans on the hook to foot the bill,” said Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota.
Yeah, well, those "others to foot the bill" should have backed Obama. More on the background here.
As to how or why this is all legal and Constitutional, don't ask:
The move reflects the administration’s view that a divided Congress would not be willing to make changes to the law, but lawyers questioned the legitimacy of the action and said it could have unintended consequences in the long run.
“I support national health care, but what the president is doing is effectively amending or negating the federal law to fit his preferred approach,” said Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University. “Democrats will rue the day if they remain silent in the face of this shift of power to the executive branch.”
Mr. Turley said Mr. Obama was setting precedents that could be used by future presidents to delay other parts of the health care law or to suspend laws dealing with taxes, civil rights or protection of the environment.
Should that day come the Times will bleat pitiably. But this is not that day.