Breaking: ObamaCare employer mandate to be delayed until 2015

posted at 6:10 pm on July 2, 2013 by Allahpundit

We’re well past the creaking stage of ObamaCare. Now we’re starting to hear cracks.

Democrats got destroyed in one midterm election because of O’s pet boondoggle. The White House will do what it can to stop history from repeating.

The decision will come in regulatory guidance to be issued later this week. It addresses vehement complaints from employer groups about the administrative burden of reporting requirements, though it may also affect coverage provided to some workers.

The two officials, who asked not to be identified to discuss the move ahead of its announcement, said the administration decided to wait until 2015 before enforcing the employer mandate in order to simplify reporting requirements and give businesses more time to adapt their health-care coverage.

The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes financial penalties on businesses with more than 50 employees that fail to provide health insurance that meets minimum standards and tests for affordability.

What happens now, without a law requiring businesses to provide insurance to full-time workers as the cost of coverage — and the cost of complying with other new O-Care regulations — rises? No one knows. We had to pass the bill to see what’s in it, and now we’ll have to implement the bill without an employer mandate to see what it looks like in practice. Presumably a bunch of businesses will simply drop coverage and leave workers to fend for themselves on the new ObamaCare exchanges. Assuming that those are ready by next year.

There have been endless stories over the past year or so of business owners scratching their heads and wringing their hands about coping with the burdens of the mandate. (The most fun example involves the Obama-loving film industry.) Gallup polled businesses just a few weeks ago to see how they were handling it. Results:

“We were startled because we know that employers were concerned about the Affordable Care Act and the effects it would have on their business, but we didn’t realize the extent they were concerned, or that the businesses were being proactive to make sure the effects of the ACA actually were minimized,” said attorney Steven Friedman of Littler Mendelson. His firm, which specializes in employment law, commissioned the Gallup poll…

Forty-one percent of the businesses surveyed have frozen hiring because of the health-care law known as Obamacare. And almost one-fifth—19 percent— answered “yes” when asked if they had “reduced the number of employees you have in your business as a specific result of the Affordable Care Act.”

Forty-one percent. That’s terrible under any circumstances but potentially catastrophic next year with the Fed warning that the age of quantitative easing is coming to an end. And an economic catastrophe driven by ObamaCare means another electoral catastrophe for Democrats, no matter how much pandering they do on amnesty and background checks. That’s why the employer mandate is being delayed; more key O-Care pieces, like the exchanges, may yet be delayed too. That’s what failure looks like. So now, instead of Obama’s signature legislation being a drag on Democrats next year, it’ll be a drag on them in 2016 instead. Expect lots of public pronouncements from Hillary Clinton, beginning sooner than you think, about how she admires the president for having tried on universal health care but emphasizing that she would have done things “quite a bit differently.”

Via Timothy Carney, here’s an Examiner vid from April about the joy of mandates.

Update: Via Ben Domenech’s feed, an excellent point:

The employer mandate is part of the law itself, duly enacted by Congress and signed by O. What authority does he have to suspend it unilaterally? Is that part of the “Save Democrats’ Asses Enabling Act of 2013”?

Update: Philip Klein sees an analogy to “doctor fix” — and a risk of this move blowing up in Democrats’ faces next year anyway:

Also, the delay is said to be one year, but if business lobbyists were successful in convincing the Obama administration to delay it for a year, will it actually ever go into effect? Congress routinely votes to delay scheduled cuts in physician payments under Medicare. Will this be the same sort of policy, that exists on paper, but never gets implemented?

Politically, the decision smacks of the Obama administration wanting to defer the impact of the law on businesses during the 2014 midterm election year, avoiding headlines about businesses cutting staff levels or reducing worker hours to get around the mandate. But it could also be politically dangerous, by reinforcing the idea that the law is a looming train wreck. Republicans can now also run on an argument that if voters elect them, they’ll prevent this horrible policy — so horrible that even the Obama administration had to delay it for a year — from ever going into effect.

Obama’s admitting failure here. Why wouldn’t the GOP run on it?

Update: Great catch by Guy:

He’s referring to this now comical Politico piece, not even a month old as I write this. Read it and giggle.

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If delaying Obamacare is good for the country then delaying it indefinitely will be fantastic for the country.

(/leftist logic)(

Kingfisher on July 3, 2013 at 2:36 PM

You don’t know that investment in healthcare innovation has already exploded due to Obamacase because it’s not a story the right wants you to hear.
bayam on July 3, 2013 at 11:17 AM

BTW, I really like that you present that argument on a thread about the Obama administration releasing their “not until 2015″ news over the Independence Day holidays.
Say, why do you think they’d time it like that?
rogerb on July 3, 2013 at 11:29 AM

How about it, bayam?
Why would the administration time the release of this just before a holiday?

rogerb on July 3, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Valerie Jarrett‏ @vj44

On ACA we’re listing [sic] to the nation’s businesses – we’ve cut red tape & given more time to comply

Yeah, they’re listing! Nearly capsizing!

ITguy on July 3, 2013 at 3:13 PM

That’s simply not true. To this day, a majority of Americans approve of the key provisions of Obamacare, including access to affordable healthcare for those with pre-existing conditions. It’s only when the right vilifies reform under the mantle of ‘Obamacare’ that polls fall.

bayam on July 3, 2013 at 11:17 AM

No, it’s that ObamaCare is filled with all the stuff that doesn’t poll so well – like individual policies TRIPLING in cost, you horse’s ass.

Chuck Schick on July 3, 2013 at 3:52 PM

Can small business owners sue for discrimination? Why is it that one class of businesses are forced to abide by the law that larger businesses do not have to?

riddick on July 2, 2013 at 11:31 PM

Employers with less than 50 employees are NOT required to provide healthcare or pay a fine under Obamacare.

Resist We Much on July 2, 2013 at 11:49 PM

Yes. Except that most mom-and-pop shops in US operate as S Corps and as such do buy their own health insurance as individuals. And WILL BE REQUIRED to adhere to law or pay penalties if not.

Discrimination, by definition.

riddick on July 3, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Hey, bayam. We were posting at the same time, but mine got hung up in the filter. Probably all the links.
We all figured you’d fled the thread like you always do. Just a matter of time, I suppose. Old habits and what-not.
rogerb on July 3, 2013 at 11:26 AM

rogerb on July 3, 2013 at 4:49 PM

But border security enforcement promises are iron-clad, right?

James on July 3, 2013 at 5:03 PM

Unlike border security, an oxymoron for a long time time, HusseinCare was DECLARED A TAX. When was it that WH is allowed to suspecnd a TAX LAW?

Where is GOP Congress on this? Seems Issa asked same question today, but I hope they FORCE liberals to abide by the LAW, ram it down their throats and see the place implode before 2014 elections.

riddick on July 3, 2013 at 5:43 PM

I’m wondering….what possible incentive does a business that’s victimized by this law have to take obama’s word for this?

What I mean is, since congress didn’t pass this change to the law, if a business actually decides to ignore the employer mandate for the year, what’s to keep obama from enforcing it “retroactively”? Especially against, say, a politically disfavored business like an oil company.

What mechanism is being used to do this arbitrarily? If it’s an executive order, can’t it simply be reversed with another executive order? Oh, sure, a court would be expected to side with the business under such circumstances, right?


runawayyyy on July 3, 2013 at 6:53 PM