Employers are getting a break again: the White House announced Monday that it was suspending the "employer mandate" of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Medium-sized businesses -- with 50 to 99 employees -- will not have to comply with the law until 2016. The insurance coverage rules pertaining to large corporations -- those with more than 100 employees -- are also being pushed back: only 70% of full-time employees have to be covered by 2015 and 95% of full-time workers by 2016.
These regulations were supposed to have taken effect last month but were delayed to Jan. 1, 2015. Small businesses with less than 50 employees are exempted from providing health coverage.
“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,” said Mark J. Mazur, the assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy.
"With something as complex as this, you want to be able to tweak it and make it work," says The Daily Ticker's Henry Blodget in the video above. "Our [health care] system is so screwed up and the law is a step toward the right direction."
Blodget argues that lawmakers should have considered a national health insurance system first and foremost. That way workers are not publicly embarrassed by expensive health care procedures (AOL's Tim Armstrong's "distressed babies" comment comes to mind) or forced to stay at a low-paying job simply for the health care coverage.
Political strategist Greg Valliere brought up two key points in a letter to clients Tuesday:
"If the White House is implicitly admitting that there are problems with the law, why should only businesses win delays? What about individuals? It's a very slippery slope..."
The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task wonders if the White House has finally bowed to political pressure from Republicans and corporate America. A report last week by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said the Affordable Care Act will result in 2 million fewer American jobs by 2017, three times higher than the CBO's previous projection. The White House disputed the report, calling the CBO analysis "incomplete" and noting that since the "Affordable Care Act passed into law in March 2010 the private sector has added 8.1 million jobs...contrasted with the 3.8 million private sector jobs lost in the decade before the Affordable Care Act passed."
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