Facing an outcry from businesses, the Obama administration Tuesday said it would delay a key part of the new health care law for an additional year, to 2015 â€” a stunning move that officials said gives them a chance to work out kinks over how to administer the so-called employer mandate.
In statements Tuesday evening, White House adviser Valerie Jarrett and Mark J. Mazur, assistant secretary for tax policy at the Treasury, said the goal was to give businesses more time to comply with the rules, though opponents said it was an acknowledgment of a looming disaster.
The delay is to the mandate requiring businesses with more than 50 workers to offer insurance to all full-time employees, or else pay a fine of $2,000 per worker. Business lobbied heavily against it, and now it will not go into effect until after the 2014 midterm elections.
â€œWe have listened to your feedback. And we are taking action,â€ Mr. Mazur said.
The individual mandate, which applies to those who are self-employed or whose companies donâ€™t offer insurance, is still in effect as of 2014, as are the state-by-state insurance markets, or â€œexchanges,â€ which are to be operating as of Oct. 1 and will allow small businesses and individuals without employer-based insurance to shop for health coverage with the help of government subsidies.
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