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White House Delays Obamacare Employer Mandate to 2016

The U.S. Treasury Department announced Monday that businesses with 50-99 employees would be granted an additional year before Obamacare's penalty for failure to offer insurance to employees kicks in.

The mandate forces medium sized companies who did not offer health insurance to make an "employer responsibility payment" to the I.R.S. beginning next January. Now these employers will have until Jan. 2016 before the mandate takes effect.

It's just the most recent in a long series of Obamacare delays the administration has announced. The trend started last year with a reversal on grandfathering rules which meant previously insured people could (if approved by state insurance commissioners) remain outside the Obamacare system for an additional year. This was followed by several delays to December deadlines for enrollment and for payment of first premiums until late January. Other announced delays included the online small business website and the Spanish language website.

We've come a long way from the moment last May when the official White House Twitter account announced "It's. The. Law." The Washington Post reports this is an attempt to "defuse" another problem which is undeniably hurting Democrats in 2014 races. There seems to be growing awareness that the changes being made to the law have as much or more to do with politics than they do with policy.

Just last week, the administration admitted it was seriously considering extending the life of previously cancelled insurance plans by an additional 1-3 years. This would either put the issue off the table until after the midterm elections or until after the presidential election of 2016. These trial balloons led insurance industry expert Bob Laszewski to wonder aloud last week whether Obamacare was unraveling.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus issued a statement about the delay saying the solution is elections:

The Obama Administration is failing to deal with ObamaCare because it is simply bad law. After refusing to accept bipartisan changes to the law, the administration is unilaterally making it up as they go along. Whether you are an American worker, employer, a union member or healthcare provider, you’ve had enough. What’s the remedy? Elections matter. Democrats may try hiding from President Obama on the campaign trail, but when it comes to his signature accomplishment, ObamaCare, each Democrat Senator up for reelection this year helped make it a reality .


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