On Tuesday, Valerie Jarett, a Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President announced on the White House Blog, the Obama administration’s decision to delay the immediate reporting requirements of businesses, and give them an extra year to catch up. The so called employer mandate is thus effectively postponed until 2015 according to the White House Blog post, “We’re Listening to Businesses about the HealthCare Law.”
However, this does not affect implementation of the law, and as Jarett made clear in her post “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.”
The reasons for the administration delaying the reporting requirements for employers are twofold. The administration announced, “First, we are cutting red tape and simplifying the reporting process … Just like our effort to turn the 21 page application for health insurance into a 3 page application.” And, “Second, we are giving businesses more time to comply.”
No change or delay has been announced in the individual mandate and Jarett indicated that the administration was on target on opening the Health Insurance Marketplace on October 1, and would continue as planned.
Jarett indicated that the changes have been made upon responses from the business community, most of who opined the reporting requirements being too complex and adding extra burden to their operations. She wrote, “In our ongoing discussions with businesses we have heard that you need the time to get this right. We are listening. So in response to your concerns, we are making two changes.”
There was mixed reaction from the business and political communities across the nation, but there was a virtual sigh of relief reverberating across the nation.
Randy Johnson, a senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce send out an email observing, “The administration has finally recognized the obvious – employers need more time and clarification of the rules of the road before implementing the employer mandate.”
On its side the White House Blog post on the matter admitted, “Some of this detailed reporting may be unnecessary for businesses that more than meet the minimum standards in the law.”
So, reporting for 2014 has been suspended while the government convenes employers, insurers, and experts to propose “a smarter system.”