Reports began circulating last night about a hidden individual mandate delay buried in some recent regulations:

ObamaCare’s implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care Act—the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty.

This latest political reconstruction has received zero media notice, and the Health and Human Services Department didn’t think the details were worth discussing in a conference call, press materials or fact sheet. Instead, the mandate suspension was buried in an unrelated rule that was meant to preserve some health plans that don’t comply with ObamaCare benefit and redistribution mandates. Our sources only noticed the change this week.

That seven-page technical bulletin includes a paragraph and footnote that casually mention that a rule in a separate December 2013 bulletin would be extended for two more years, until 2016. Lo and behold, it turns out this second rule, which was supposed to last for only a year, allows Americans whose coverage was cancelled to opt out of the mandate altogether.

In testimony today, Kathleen Sebelius said it ain’t so, as reported by The Hill:

The Obama administration will not delay ObamaCare’s individual mandate or the March 31 deadline for enrolling in the new healthcare law, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday.

Sebelius offered the assurance during testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee, where Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) noted the administration has made dozens of other changes or delays to the law.

Given problems caused by ObamaCare’s faulty website last year, Brady asked Sebelius directly if delays to the individual mandate or enrollment deadline were next.

“No sir,” Sebelius responded on both counts.

Republicans have played up the administration’s refusal to make changes to the individual mandate and enrollment deadline even as it has made changes to the law to benefit other groups.

I don’t know who is right on the mandate delay — whether it’s cooked into the regulations or not.

At this point, considering how toxic Obamacare is, does it matter?

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