Obamacare employer mandate pushed back a year
Business owners and executives who still don't have a plan for dealing with federal health care reform were given a reprieve late Tuesday, when the White House announced that penalties for employers that don't comply with the legislation won't be imposed until 2015. Put simply, companies with 50 or more full-time employees would have faced fines next year for failing to provide affordable, quality insurance coverage. The U.S. Department of the Treasury says the delay will "provide time to adapt health coverage and reporting systems while employers are moving toward making health coverage affordable and accessible for their employees." Workers who might have received coverage through their employer because of the new law now will be expected to purchase insurance through online marketplaces known as exchanges. Federal subsidies will be available for low-income buyers. Small Business Majority, which supports the law, says the delay only impacts a small number of businesses, since most have fewer than 50 employees while most larger employers already provide insurance. Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, tells The Washington Post the delay gives large employers, even those that already offer coverage, time to be more deliberative about complying with the rules. Republican politicians seized on the delay as evidence of the ACA's inability to work. "We must replace Obamacare with patient-centered reforms which expand health care access without destroying jobs," says Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, of Baton Rouge.
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