Obama Administration Announces Latest Delay to Employer Mandate

| February 11, 2014

News that the Obama Administration partially delayed, for a second time, the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate received heavy coverage across media: all three network broadcasts reported, and several major newspapers carried the announcement on their front pages.

On the CBS Evening News (2/10, story 5, 1:20, Pelley), Major Garrett reported that the Obama Administration said Monday businesses with between 50 and 99 employees will get “an extra year to comply” with the ACA’s requirement to provide coverage to its workers. Moreover, businesses with over 100 employees will have to cover “just 70 percent of their full-time employees next year instead of the 95 percent previously required.” With these delays, the full employer mandate is not scheduled to kick in until 2016.

expectdelaysMany reports also emphasize that this is the latest in a series of delays for the law. George Stephanopoulos, in a brief segment for ABC World News (2/10, story 4, 0:25, Stephanopoulos), said “after all of those glitches, all of those false starts,” there is “a new delay for Obamacare,” In its blurb, NBC Nightly News (2/10, story 4, 0:25, Pelley) stated the Obama Administration “is delaying another part of the President’s healthcare law.”

In a front-page article, the New York Times (2/11, Pear, Subscription Publication) reports that the Treasury Department “laid out a three-tier approach” to the delay: “for larger employers with 100 or more employees…seventy percent of employees must be offered coverage in 2015, and in later years at least 95 percent of employees must be offered coverage,” while “employers with 50 to 99 employees…will have an extra year,” and “small businesses with fewer than 50 employees…will not be required to provide coverage or fill out any forms in any year.”

Under the front-page headline, “Health-Law Mandate Put Off Again: No Fines for Most Employers Until 2016 as Firms Pressure White House in Wake of Troubled Rollout,” the Wall Street Journal (2/11, A1, Radnofsky, Francis, Subscription Publication) reports that Administration officials insist that the decision to delay the employer mandate once again was made in response to the concerns of the business community, rather than as a result of political considerations.

The AP (2/11, Alonso-Zaldivar) says “some major business organizations were quick to praise” the announcement.

On the other hand, USA Today (2/11, A1, Kennedy) reports in a front-page story that Republicans, “many of whom co-sponsored a bill asking that the employer mandate be delayed…immediately denounced the move and called for the delay to be extended to individuals.”

Additional coverage is offered by Bloomberg News (2/11, Wayne), the Washington Post (2/11, A1, Eilperin, Goldstein), the Los Angeles Times (2/11, Levey), Reuters (2/11, Temple-West), McClatchy (2/11, Pugh, Subscription Publication), the Christian Science Monitor (2/11, Feldmann), the Washington Times (2/11, Wolfgang), the AP (2/11, Alonso-Zaldivar), the ABC News (2/11, Good) “The Note” blog, CBS News (2/11, Condon) and NBC News (2/11) on their websites, CNBC (2/11, Mangan), CNN (2/11, Luhby), MSNBC (2/11, Cowley), the NPR (2/11, Chappell) “The Two-Way” blog, FOX News (2/11), the Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger (2/11, Beeson), CQ (2/11, Adams, Subscription Publication), The Hill (2/11, Goad) “Regwatch” blog, the National Journal (2/11, Baker, Subscription Publication), and the Daily Caller (2/11, Bordelon).

Source: American Medical Association

Category: Current Affairs, General Healthcare News, Government

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