Yesterday, the federal government announced yet another delay in Obamacare’s rules and also weakened requirements for complying with the law. The government will now exempt companies employing between 50 and 100 full-time workers from complying with the mandate to offer employees affordable health insurance by another year, until 2016.
Companies that have 100 or more full-time workers, defined as employees who work more than 30 hours per week, will have to begin complying with the mandate to offer such coverage in 2015 or face financial penalties of up to $3,000 per worker.
Officials Monday said that the delay in the Obamacare mandate will affect 50 percent of the businesses that were supposed to be complying by 2015. Those officials could not answer how many workers would be affected by the delay.
However, those officials also took pains to note that the so-called employer mandate to offer affordable health insurance to workers does not affect 96 percent of the employers in the US, because they have fewer than 50 full-time employees.
“We’ve gotten a lot of requests to give some more time to some small businesses that would otherwise be subject to this, and we’re responding to that by addressing these businesses,” a senior US Treasury official told reporters when asked the rationale for the delay. “We think a phase-in approach is a way to administer the law better, and enhance overall compliance with the law.”
In fact, last summer the Obama Administration summarily delayed the implementation of the employer mandate for all businesses with more than 50 full-time workers from 2014 until 2015. That delay was greeted by yowls from Republicans in Congress who objected to the administration making such a change without Congressional approval.
It was also met with calls to postpone enforcement of the individual mandate requiring nearly all Americans to obtain health insurance by 2014 or pay a tax penalty next year. The administration rejected that demand.
Officials on Monday said that any business claiming they were eligible for the new one-year delay because they have fewer than 100 workers must certify, under penalty of perjury, that it had not reduced its workforce merely to qualify for that exemption.