(Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Alcorn)
The Obama administration announced Monday its twenty-seventh delay to the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare."
Under the new regulations, announced by Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Mazur, employers with 50 to 100 employees will not be required to provide health insurance until 2016. Employers with more than 100 employees will be allowed to provide health coverage for only 70 percent of their employees in 2015 and 95 percent of their employees in 2016. (Under the ACA, companies with fewer than 50 employees do not have to provide health insurance.)
"While about 96% of employers are not subject to the employer responsibility provision, for those employers that are," Mazur said, "we will continue to make the compliance process simpler and easier to navigate. 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."
The employer mandate was originally supposed to go into effect in 2014 but was already delayed until 2015.
In response, Republicans urged Obama to delay the individual mandate as well.
"Where is the relief for American families who are suffering from this law?" asked Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), according to Politico. "By providing more relief for employers without doing the same for individuals, the President is again sending the message that businesses deserve favorable treatment over the hardworking American people."
Republicans have also been arguing that the employer mandate will encourage employers to hire fewer workers and hire more part-time workers. If they are correct, Obama has pushed that effect of the mandate past the 2014 elections.
Ron Fournier, a political journalist for National Journal, said he wants to see the ACA work but believes the administration is "playing politics."
"This is more about the midterm elections than anything else. They want to push this thing off because they know what's coming down the road," he said Monday on Fox News' "Special Report." "... They're doing a miserable job implementing [the ACA] and I think they're on the brink of ruining the ability to insure these people."