The White House announced on Tuesday that a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare – would be delayed for one year. The provision that requires employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees to provide health insurance to its full-time employees or pay a penalty is now slated to go into effect Jan. 1, 2015.
The move, according to a post on the White House blog, is in response to concerns voiced by the business community over the timeline. "This allows employers the time to test the new reporting systems and make any necessary adaptations to their health benefits while staying the course toward making health coverage more affordable and accessible for their workers," writes Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to the President for intergovernmental affairs and public engagement.
The announcement, however, does not delay the provision requiring most Americans to have health insurance coverage by Jan. 1, 2014, nor does it change the requirements for states to have health insurance exchanges in place by October.
In response to the announcement, the National Federation of Independent Business released a statement, calling the delay "the latest evidence that implementation of this terrible law is going to be difficult if not impossible."
"Temporary relief is small consolation," says Amanda Austin, NFIB's director of federal public policy. "We need a permanent fix to this provision to provide long-term relief for small employers."
The White House also announced that it would simplify the reporting requirements of the ACA. While these changes are being made, the reporting requirements have been suspended for 2014.