(Photo: Reuters/Jason Reed)
A major provision of President Barack Obama's sweeping health care law requiring businesses to provide their workers with health insurance or face fines has been delayed by one year, the Treasury Department announced on Tuesday.
According to a CNN report, the decision to delay the provision was due to concerns raised by business owners about the complexity of the law's reporting requirements. Businesses employing 50 or more full-time workers who don't provide health insurance coverage can be penalized under the Affordable Care Act popularly known as Obamacare.
"We recognize that the vast majority of businesses that will need to do this reporting already provide health insurance to their workers, and we want to make sure it is easy for others to do so. We have listened to your feedback. And we are taking action," Mark J. Mazur, assistant secretary for tax policy, wrote in a post on the website of the Treasury Department.
Businesses that don't provide health insurance to their employees won't begin facing fines until 2015. The extra year, according to Mazur, will also give the government time to make the reporting process more user-friendly for businesses. It was also noted that the establishment of exchanges in states for low-income Americans to obtain health insurance will not be affected.
Despite the reprieve from the delay of the provision, however, some critics of the law said a delay was insufficient to address the concerns with Obamacare.
"President Obama's decision to delay the employer mandate of the health care law because it will be a burden on businesses and job creators is proof the plan is more onerous and complex than he claimed," noted GOP Senator Rob Portman in a post on his Facebook page on Wednesday.
"Rather than delaying its implementation for businesses, this law should be repealed for everyone. Americans deserve access to affordable and quality health care that best suits their individual needs, and government has no business forcing individuals, families, and employers to enter into costly health care exchanges," he asserted.
Rep. Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader, was more concise in his comments on Twitter: "The best delay for ObamaCare is a permanent one."
One critic on Sen. Portman's Facebook page speculated that the reason for the delay was the upcoming mid-term elections.
"Democrats up for reelection during the midterm is the real reason behind the delay. Yes it should be repealed and it shouldn't be about INSURANCE, real healthcare need to be the priority. Talk to actual physicians that are practicing, NOT bureaucrats," wrote Tammie Sargent- Hanthorn.