WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — President Barack Obama’s political clout took a hit after a key part of his signature legislation was delayed for another year.
The White House announced Tuesday that the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate – which would require medium and large companies to provide health care coverage for their workers or face fines – will now go into effect in 2015 after businesses complained about the complexity of the law.
“This is designed to meet two goals. First, it will allow us to consider ways to simplify the new reporting requirements consistent with the law. Second, it will provide time to adapt health coverage and reporting systems while employers are moving toward making health coverage affordable and accessible for their employees,” Mark Mazur, the assistant secretary for tax policy, said in a statement.
White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said in a blog post that delaying this requirement will cut back on the red tape.
“We have heard the concern that the reporting called for under the law about each worker’s access to and enrollment in health insurance requires new data collection systems and coordination. So we plan to re-vamp and simplify the reporting process,” Jarrett wrote. “Some of this detailed reporting may be unnecessary for businesses that more than meet the minimum standards in the law. We will convene employers, insurers, and experts to propose a smarter system and, in the interim, suspend reporting for 2014.”
This is just the latest setback for the Obama’s health care legislation. CBS News political director John Dickerson said this move shows the administration was not prepared to implement the law.
“As a political matter, this is not good,” Dickerson said. “It sort of contributes to the feeling that the Affordable Care Act is a jalopy they’re trying to roll out of the driveway here at barely operational for the president. That’s not good.”
Dickerson added that the White House decided to “take the pain now” with the announcement.
“The White House made the decision, though, take the pain now, before the July Fourth weekend, rather than have all of these stories over the next year of companies who were laying off workers or having such a hard time implementing this,” Dickerson said.
Republicans jumped on the announcement as House Speaker John Boehner said the administration knows the Obamacare “train wreck will only get worse.”
“This is a clear acknowledgment that the law is unworkable, and it underscores the need to repeal the law and replace it with effective, patient-centered reforms,” Boehner said in a statement.
The health law requires companies with 50 or more workers to offer affordable coverage to their employees or face potentially large fines if just one worker ends up getting taxpayer-subsidized insurance.
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