The Obama administration unexpectedly announced in a blog post Tuesday that it's delaying the provision that requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide insurance or face fines. Washington bureau reporter Geoff Bennett filed the following report for NY1.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a stunning move, the Obama White House said Tuesday that it's postponing until 2015 the section of the federal health care law that requires businesses to provide their workers with health insurance or pay penalties. That mandate affected companies with more than 50 full-time workers.
It's a huge victory for businesses that had lobbied against the health care law.
"What's going here is that the administration is engaging in triage," said Sabrina Corlette of Georgetown University. "This is a massive undertaking for just about any administration. They are looking at provisions of the law that make sense to implement right away, and those that could stand for a little delay."
In a White House blog post, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett wrote that the administration wanted to give employers "more time to comply with the new rules."
That's because the employer mandate is one of the most complex parts of the health care law. Companies complained that the requirements were too burdensome and too complicated.
The move is a setback for President Obama's signature domestic legislation, but it could help the White House politically by removing an election-year attack line for Republicans that say the law is unworkable and unfair.
Republicans in Congress piled on shortly after the announcement. In a written statement, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said, "…the White House seems to slowly be admitting what Americans already know…the fact remains that Obamacare needs to be repealed and replaced with common-sense reforms …"
Still, the White House says the rest of the health care law is on track.