The Obama administration announced on Monday another delay in the implementation of the employer health insurance mandate specified by the Affordable Care Act. The law, passed by Congress in 2010, declared that all businesses with 50 or more full time employees were required to provide health insurance or pay a fine of up to $3000 per employee. This part of the law was to take effect in January of 2014.

Last summer, the Obama administration postponed the employer mandate until January 2015. Now it has postponed the mandate for another year. Under the new Treasury rule, firms with 50 to 99 full-time workers are free from the mandate until January, 2016. Firms with 100 or more workers now also only need cover 70% of full-time workers in 2015 and 95% in 2016 and after, not the 100% specified in the law.

The administration noted that they will also relax the mandate for certain occupations and industries that were at particular risk for disruption, like volunteer firefighters, teachers, adjunct faculty members and seasonal employees. The administration also noted that they will continue to review the law and determine if further changes in the implementation will be required.

It seems to the Advi$or that Nancy Pelosi was right when she announced, when the law was being considered, that Congress needed to pass the law to see what was in it. Now that the law has been in effect, the administration continues to modify and delay the law as they see fit, some believe stepping beyond Presidential powers. The ACA is, after all, a written law passed by Congress. The President appears to taking the ACA law into his own hands as his administration makes adjustments.

This latest alteration of the law by the administration comes shortly after the federal government’s budget office announced that implementation of the ACA is effecting employer hiring and will result in the loss of at least 2 million jobs in the coming years.

While this recent delay in the employer mandate is good news for employers, with all the changes the administration keeps making in the law, The Advi$or does wonder how the government is going to pay for the massive program. It appears the administration chooses to maintain all the benefits, subsidies and other entitlements while it continues to delay the areas that are going to help generate revenue to cover the costs of the program.

 

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