Wednesday, July 3, 2013

White House: Obamacare Too Complex, Implementation Delayed

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Citing the burden of complex regulations on businesses, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Obama Administration announced yesterday that it will provide an additional year before the Affordable Care Act mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements begin. 

"Just like our effort to turn the 21 page application for health insurance into a 3 page application, we are working hard to adapt and to be flexible in employer and insurer reporting as we implement the law," said White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett.
The Treasury Department said in a statement the delay is designed to meet two goals:

1) To allow the Obama Administration time to consider ways to simplify the new reporting requirements consistent with the law; and

2) To provide time to adapt health coverage and reporting systems while employers are moving toward making health coverage affordable and accessible for their employees.  

The immediate effect of this delay on employers is that shared responsibility payments (under section 4980H) will not apply for 2014 and are pushed back until 2015.  The Treasury department is expected to  publish formal guidance describing the delay this week, followed by publishing proposed Affordable Care Act reporting requirements later this summer.

But with midterm elections just around the corner, skeptics of announced delay are already questioning whether the motives are political so that Democrats do not lose seats in Congress or state elections due to public backlash.  The other ulterior motive is potential fundraising for Democrats from mid-size and large corporations that seek to obtain Obamacare regulation carve-outs or notorious waivers to the Affordable Care Act.  Human Events, a conservative publication, asks why didn't the Obama Administration also delay mandates on individuals instead of just businesses?


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