Why the White House Won’t Budge on Obamacare — For Now

The White House rang in 2015 by promptly issuing a veto threat to the first Obamacare challenge from Republicans.

But that doesn’t mean Obama would never budge on adjustments to his signature domestic initiative, just that it makes little sense for him to do so now, say those at the center of the Obamacare clash.

“From the perspective of somebody who has held a veto pen before, it’s an art form as much as it is a direct power,” said Mike Leavitt, former Utah governor and Health and Human Services secretary under President George W. Bush. “Often, it’s best used as a means of pre-empting something as opposed to responding to action.”

The White House asserts that Obama will not compromise on legislation that undermines the core principle of his reforms: shrinking the number of uninsured Americans. And his refusal to engage in a debate about changing the law to require larger employers to provide health insurance to employees working 40 hours a week, rather than 30, is designed to avoid giving Republicans leverage for pursuing a larger Obamacare overhaul.