Key part of health care law — employer mandates — delayed
WASHINGTON — In a major concession to business groups, the Obama administration on Tuesday announced a one-year delay, until 2015, in a central requirement of the new health care law that medium and large companies provide coverage for their workers or face fines.
The move sacrificed timely implementation of President Obama's signature legislation but may help the administration politically by blunting a line of attack Republicans were planning to use in next year's congressional elections. The employer requirements are among the most complex parts of the health care law, which is designed to expand coverage for uninsured Americans.
“We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively,” Treasury Assistant Secretary Mark Mazur said in a blog post. “We have listened to your feedback, and we are taking action.”
Business groups were jubilant. “A pleasant surprise,” said Randy Johnson, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. There was no inkling in advance of the administration's action, he said.
Under the law, companies with 50 or more workers must provide affordable coverage to full-time employees or risk a series of escalating tax penalties if just one worker ends up getting government-subsidized insurance.
That requirement was supposed to take effect on Jan. 1. Business groups complained since the law passed that the provision was too complicated. For instance, the law required a new definition of full-time workers, those putting in 30 hours or more. But such complaints until now seemed to be going unheeded.
The delay in the employer requirement does not affect the law's requirement that individuals carry health insurance starting next year or face fines. That so-called individual mandate was challenged all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled last year that requirement was constitutional since the penalty would be collected by the Internal Revenue Service and amounted to a tax.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- West Virginia on pace to issue record number of concealed-carry permits
- Obama orders steeper emission cuts from power plants
- Wreckage from Challenger, Columbia goes on display
- 5,000 homes in peril of Northern Calif. wildfire
- Manhunt under way for suspect in Memphis officer’s killing
- GOP leaders aloof as Texas Attorney General Paxton indicted for securities fraud
- Finish 44-year Hamtramck housing bias case soon, judge tells lawyers
- Tent blows off mooring, kills 1 near Chicago
- Veterans notified of info breach in South Dakota
- Phoenix man accused of beheading wife, dogs jailed on $2M bail
- Hitchhiking robot’s journey west cut short in Philly