Businesses employing more than 50 full-time workers on Tuesday received a temporary reprieve from the Affordable Care Act's mandate to provide health insurance or face fines. The delay is in response to business owners' concerns about the complexity of the reporting requirements and an expressed need for more time to implement them, according to a statement from the Treasury Department.
"We recognize that the vast majority of businesses that will need to do this reporting already provide health insurance to their workers, and we want to make sure it is easy for others to do so," wrote Mark J. Mazur, assistant secretary for tax policy. "We have listened to your feedback. And we are taking action."
He also said that the delay would give government time to figure out how to simplify the reporting requirements. In addition, the law's state insurance exchanges and individual mandate requiring most Americans to have health insurance are still scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1.
“As we implement this law, we have and will continue to make changes as needed. In our ongoing discussions with businesses we have heard that you need the time to get this right,” Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama wrote on the White House blog. “We are listening.”
Republican lawmakers seized the announcement as an opportunity to slam Obama's signature domestic legislative achievement as unwieldy, unworkable and a job killer.
"Rather than continuing to delay the predictable pain until another election day has passed, we should scrap this entire law and instead implement patient-centered reforms before any more damage is done to our economy or the health care families depend on," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said, responding to the news. "The best delay for ObamaCare is a permanent one."
But the move also gives Democratic congressional lawmakers and candidates a bit of political cover. They are now freed from having to answer questions about the employer mandate during the critical 2014 mid-term election cycle.
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