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
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 121 tourists stranded on schooner near Statue of Liberty
- Ticks reduce moose population in northern states
- Hurricane shattered Charleston, S.C., tested mayor 25 years ago
- Pope picks moderate to be Chicago archbishop
- New DNA testing in twins welcomed by prosecutors
- Egyptian Bary admits links to 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa
- Scope of Chrysler’s latest SUV recall questioned
- DHS headquarters’ planning goes awry
- Threats from Mexican cartels lead protesters to scrap immigration rallies, organizer says
- Training, equipping Syrian rebels approved by Senate
- Search for missing U. of Va. student shifted