The Obama administration put off more stringent U.S. healthcare policy standards for two years Wednesday, allowing some 500,000 people to keep cheaper coverage.
The administration rules grandfathered the policies through Oct. 1, 2016. Wednesday's announcement eliminates the threat of insurance policy cancellation notices going out before the midterm elections.
"This reeks of politics," Brendan Buck, a spokesman for U.S. House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, told Roll Call. "Instead of working with Congress to prevent Americans from losing the plans they like and can afford, the president is unilaterally rewriting laws around the election calendar. You have to wonder if he's more interested in keeping his promise or keeping seats in the Senate."
Administration officials denied any political motives in putting off the more stringent requirements of the Affordable Care Act, saying by the time the deadline rolls around, few people will still be in those policies that don't meet ACA standards.
The administration released comprehensive regulations it said "responds to the concerns we've heard from families, states, businesses, health professionals, Congress, insurance commissioners and insurers who want certainty on what's coming as early as possible so that they can plan ahead."