The Department of Treasury announced Monday it will delay another year the Obamacare requirement for medium-sized employers to offer health insurance to full-time workers.
The Obama administration won’t enforce the rule until 2016 for business with between 50 and 99 employees. All companies with 100 employees or more will be subject to the employer mandate beginning in 2015, after an initial delay was announced before the Independence Day holiday in 2013.
“While about 96 percent 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,” said Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Mazur.
“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 employers,” Mazur continued.
Large employers will avoid a fine in 2015 by offering coverage to at least 70 percent of their full-time employees, according to the Treasury’s finalized regulations. By 2016, they will need to insure at least 95 percent of employees.
The cost of noncompliance is a $2,000 per employee after the first 20 employees, as well as an additional fee for employees that receive taxpayer subsidies through Obamacare exchanges.
The change was necessary, a senior administration official told The Washington Post, because businesses “need a little more time to adjust to providing coverage.”
Obamacare requires all businesses with 50 or more employees to provide health insurance to 95 percent of those who work 30 hours or more per week, but the requirement has been steadily degraded by the Obama administration — without congressional approval.
When Treasury made their initial July decision to halt enforcement of the rule until January 2015, representatives claimed that officials needed more time to develop reporting measures to make enforcement of the individual mandate possible.
Republicans have already begun denouncing the newest delay. Speaker of the House John Boehner slammed the president for “rewriting law on a whim” and “giving a break to corporations while individuals and families are stuck under the mandates of his health care law.”
Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo charged that the pushback “demonstrates that Obamacare has been a disaster to implement.”
“Further,” Pompeo added, “the president’s unwillingness to work with Congress towards a solution, instead issuing decisions by fiat, is terrible for this country’s democratic process.”
Ironically, the Democratic National Committee sent out an email blast just minutes after the announcement, defending Obamacare’s bona fides from recent findings by the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO found that the health law will cause 2 million workers to leave their jobs.
“Obamacare is working,” the DNC wrote. “More Americans can afford health insurance, without having to work two jobs.”
“So obviously, the GOP is distorting the situation to make people think it’s bad news.”
The newest delay will put another year’s distance between the November midterms and the deadline for smaller businesses to comply with the mandate.
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