Responding to business concerns, the Obama administration announced Tuesday that it would delay until 2015 the new health care law’s mandate that employers provide workers with health insurance.
New reporting requirements of the Affordable Care Act will also be delayed a year. Questions about the new employer mandate and reporting requirements have been a concern for businesses across the nation, including in and around Oak Ridge.
“We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively,” said Mark J. Mazur, assistant secretary for tax policy. Mazur made the announcement on the U.S. Treasury Department’s website.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, said the delay will make a “giant mess” of the law’s individual mandate because, presumably, individuals are still required to purchase insurance.
“This is ‘Obamacare’ unraveling,” Alexander said in a Tuesday evening press release. “Pushing the implementation of the employer mandate until after the 2014 election confirms the law was an historic mistake. It should be repealed and replaced with effective legislation that will reduce costs by involving patients in health care decision making.”
The Obama administration said major portions of the law have yet to be implemented, but the administration is on target to open the Health Insurance Marketplace on Oct. 1. Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, said it would give small businesses and ordinary Americans one place to go to “learn about their coverage options and make side-by-side comparisons of each plan’s price and benefits before they make their decision.”
In a White House blog post, she said the administration was “cutting red tape and simplifying the reporting process” and “giving businesses more time to comply,” including for new reporting requirements.
Time magazine reported that the so-called employer mandate, which penalizes employers with more than 50 employees if they fail to provide a minimum standard of affordable health insurance, was set to kick in in 2014, but now will take effect in 2015.
More information will be added as it becomes available.