The Obama administration announced Mondaythat it will delay implementation of part of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate for the second consecutive year.
The Treasury Department said it will delay the mandate’s penalty another year for small businesses with 50-99 workers. It will also adjust some of the requirements for larger employers.
Under the new Treasury Department rules, businesses with 100 employees or more must offer coverage to at least 70% of full-time workers in 2015 and 95% in 2016, or face a penalty.
Though the administration emphasised that it won’t affect a large number of people, the Treasury Department hinted that it was meant to assuage small businesses’ concerns about the law’s implementation.
“While about 96% of employers are not subject to the employer responsibility provision, for those employers that are, we will continue to make the compliance process simpler and easier to navigate,” Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark J. Mazur said in a statement.
“Today’s final regulations phase in the standards to ensure that larger employers either offer quality, affordable coverage or make an employer responsibility payment starting in 2015 to help offset the cost to taxpayers of coverage or subsidies to their employees.”
The employer mandate was set to take effect this year. Last July, the Obama administration delayed by a year the requirement that businesses provide workers health insurance.
The purpose of the employer mandate is to discourage employers from dropping coverage and leaving employees to buy subsidized insurance in the Obamacare exchanges at greater taxpayer expense.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) joked immediately on Twitter that after the latest delay of part of the law, Obamacare should have a new, Olympic-themed logo:
House Speaker John Boehner slammed President Barack Obama for what he said was a corporate break.
“Once again, the president is giving a break to corporations while individuals and families are still stuck under the mandates of his health care law,” Boehner said.
“And, once again, the president is rewriting law on a whim. If the administration doesn’t believe employers can manage the burden of the law, how can struggling families be expected to? This continued manipulation by the president breeds confusion and erodes Americans’ confidence in him and his health care law. We need fairness for all, with relief from Obamacare for every American .”
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