The Obama administration announced more changes Monday to the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, delaying the law's employer mandate for another year.
The employer mandate will eventually require all businesses with 50 or more employees to provide health insurance to their workers or face a penalty. The White House already delayed the mandate once before, last July. (Via CNN)
Now, regulations released Monday by the U.S. Treasury push back the employer mandate a further year for businesses which have 50-99 employees. Companies with 100 or more employees will only be required to cover 70 percent of their workforce by 2015, growing to 95 percent by 2016.
The Washington Post writes the actual policy effects of these changes will have a very small practical impact. "The vast majority of large employers — somewhere around 95 percent — already offer health insurance ... This delay will likely amount to a relatively small, if non-existent, change."
But Politico writes pushing the employer mandate back another year will likely rekindle a Republican criticism of Obamacare: that while the employer mandate has been delayed, the individual mandate has remained inflexible.
"Republicans have pushed the 'fairness' line since the first delay: If businesses can get a break, why can’t individuals? ... It could be even harder for the Obama administration and the other Democrats to hold the line now – because now they have to explain why businesses got a break not once, but twice."
Monday's changes also accommodate several business complaints about how the law defines full-time employees. Volunteer and seasonal workers will no longer count as full-time employees after the changes.