No ObamaCare Employer Mandate For Now

As you have no doubt heard by now, the Obama administration has shelved the employer mandate under ObamaCare, or more precisely moved the requirement back to 2015. Here’s Bloomberg’s report.

Businesses won’t be penalized next year if they fail to provide workers health insurance after the Obama administration decided to delay a key requirement under its signature 2010 health-care law.

The government will postpone enforcement of the so-called employer mandate until 2015, the administration said today. Under the provision, companies with 50 or more workers face a fine of as much as $3,000 per employee if they don’t offer affordable insurance.

What gives? Is the program in shambles, are they just so tied up in knots and behind the curve that they can’t roll it out? The official explanation is that businesses were bitching and they’re listening to them. Odd, that’s the first time they’ve ventured outside their echo chamber on this subject since they rammed it through. I don’t buy it. I do buy the explanation that they heard companies whining and did a little election 2014 calculation, no doubt with some considerable input from Democrats up for reelection next year, and figured this egg on their face was the lesser of several evils.

But have they just created a bigger monster that’s going to haunt them going into those elections. Bloomberg’s report indicates that there is one other important part that hasn’t changed.

The move may lead some employers to delay providing coverage to workers. The law’s individual mandate remains in effect, a provision that requires most Americans to carry health insurance.

Now there must be a lot of people out there who were looking forward to getting insured through their employer, and one would suspect that a fair proportion of them aren’t currently insured. So now they not only don’t get the insurance they were planning on but have to go out and buy their own? Of course, they can forego insurance and pay a paltry fine, but it doesn’t seem that this is going to sit all that well with them. Not a great election strategy that.

Who’s next in line. There are lots of groups who haven’t been thrilled by the requirements ObamaCare brought down on their heads. Think medical device manufacturers who don’t particularly like the tax they have to pay to support the plan, or hospitals and doctors facing medicare cuts they would rather not incur. They have to be smelling the blood in the water. This is how things tend to unravel.

It isn’t the beginning of the end for ObamaCare, but we are nearing the end of the beginning and things are looking a little shaky.

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