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Obamacare delay: White House pushes employer mandate to 2015

By
CAROLINE LEE, UPI.com
Carol Metcalf is applauded by President Barack Obama prior to his comments on his signature healthcare program. Officials announced today a year-long delay of the employer mandate. UPI/Pat Benic
Carol Metcalf is applauded by President Barack Obama prior to his comments on his signature healthcare program. Officials announced today a year-long delay of the employer mandate. UPI/Pat Benic | License Photo

As part of the Affordable Care Act, an employer mandate will require all firms with more than 50 employees to offer health coverage or face fines up to $3,000 per employee.

Most provisions of the law will be implemented in January 2014, but the Obama administration has delayed the mandate until 2015.

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The delay will change how Obamacare is introduced, as well as affect the private health insurance market.

"This announcement means even the Obama administration knows the 'train wreck' will only get worse," House Speaker John Boehner said.

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"This is a clear acknowledgment that the law is unworkable, and it underscores the need to repeal the law and replace it with effective, patient-centered reforms."

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi defended the delay:

"This move will allow businesses more time to adapt their health coverage as the administration continues its efforts to simplify reporting, and allow for testing and changes to health benefits throughout 2014."

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The delay is expected to affect the 2014 midterm elections as well. Sen. John Barrasso R-WY said the move is to "delay the coming train wreck association with Obamacare until after the 2014 elections."

Congressional elections will take place in November 2014, and the delay has the potential to shield Democratic candidates from backlash generated by the employer regulations.

Critics have said the mandate will push employers to implement layoffs and shorten work days to 29 hours -- just under full-time -- to avoid the mandate.

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Former White House health policy adviser Ezekiel Emanuel said Wednesday that the delay of the mandate's implementation will impact a limited number of companies, as 97 percent of American businesses employ fewer than 50 people.

“I actually don’t think this is that big a deal,” Emanuel said.

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