The Obama administration announced Tuesday afternoon that the federal health law's employer mandate, which requires large employers to provide health insurance to full-time workers or pay a fine, has been delayed for one year.
Other key elements of the Affordable Care Act will stay in place, such as the individual requirement to have health insurance and the new marketplaces, such as Covered California.
The administration's announcement cited "concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively" as the reason for the change.
"This is a wise, sensible and pragmatic decision on the part of the administration," said Bill Kramer, executive director for national health policy at the Pacific Business Group on Health, a large employer group focused on health care. He called the reporting requirements an "administrative burden" on businesses, and said this delay "allows both the administration to simplify reporting requirements and allows employers more time to put in place their own systems to insure to insure that they can meet those reporting requirements."
Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, noted that the employer mandate has been one of the most controversial elements of the ACA, even though he says most Americans support the idea of employers providing health insurance to their workers. "But it's created a string of potentially negative stories and anecdotes about employers, for example, cutting back hours of part-time workers to avoid the requirement ... so it's something that had the potential to create controversy as the health reform law rolls out."