The Obama administration announced Monday another delay in President Obama’s healthcare law, giving some employers more time to provide coverage for their workers.
Under the new regulations issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), companies with 50 to 99 employees that do not yet provide health insurance to their full-time workers have until January 1, 2016 to do so without facing a federal penalty.
The regulations also state that large companies with 100 or more employees must comply with the federal mandate by offering coverage to at least 75 percent of their full-time workers in 2015 and 95 percent in 2016 and beyond. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees remain exempt from the federal mandate to provide health insurance for their workers.
“While about 96 percent of employers are not subject to the employer responsibility provision, for those employers that are, we will continue to make the compliance process simpler and easier to navigate,” said Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark J. Mazur. “Today’s final regulations phase in the standards to ensure that larger employers either offer quality, affordable coverage or make an employer responsibility payment starting in 2015 to help offset the cost to taxpayers of coverage or subsidies to their employees.”
Republicans immediately pounced on the announcement, using the “fairness” argument to argue that it is unfair that average Americans do not receive the same Obamacare exemptions that businesses do.
“Once again, the president is giving a break to corporations while individuals and families are still stuck under the mandates of his health care law,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement Monday. “And, once again, the president is rewriting law on a whim. If the administration doesn’t believe employers can manage the burden of the law, how can struggling families be expected to?”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called for the repeal of Obamacare. “The White House seems to have a new exemption from its failed law for a different group every month,” McConnell said in a statement. “It’s time to extend that exemption to families and individuals—not just businesses. The real answer is to repeal Obamacare and replace it with reforms that lower costs and that Americans support.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor compared the Obamacare delay to the failed lighting of the Olympic rings during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. “Another day, another delay,” Cantor wrote on Twitter, adding that the Olympic ring failure should be the new logo for Obamacare.
Another day, another delay. This should be ObamaCare’s new logo: pic.twitter.com/4HGd4zXkMk
— Eric Cantor (@EricCantor) February 10, 2014