WH: Employers Need Time 'to Get This Right,' 'Make Any Necessary Adaptations to their Health Benefits'

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | July 3, 2013 | 10:56 PM EDT

A White House e-mail says the reason the administration has delayed enforcement of Obamacare's employer mandate is that employers "need the time to get this right."

The e-mail from Special Assistant to the President and Director of Private Sector Engagement Ari Matusiak says the one-year reprieve from penalties is "giving businesses more time to comply" and "make any necessary adaptations to their health benefits."

Instead of addressing bedrock flaws in the law, such the contraception and abortion-inducing drug coverage mandate that has prompted 62 separate lawsuits, the administration says it's giving employers more time to comply and making paperwork easier.

To help employers "get this right," Matusiak says the administration will cut red tape and simplify the reporting process:

"In implementing the law, we have said time and again that we would listen to the concerns of the business community and make changes as needed.  In our ongoing discussions with many of you, we have heard that you need the time to get this right. We have heard you, and are making two changes as a result:

  • First, we are cutting red tape and simplifying the reporting process.  We have heard the concern that the reporting called for under the law about each worker's access to and enrollment in health insurance requires new data collection systems and coordination.  So we plan to re-vamp and simplify the reporting process.  Some of this detailed reporting may be unnecessary for businesses that more than meet the minimum standards in the law.  We will convene employers, insurers, and experts to propose a smarter system and, in the interim, suspend reporting for 2014.
  • Second, we are giving businesses more time to comply.  Since employer responsibility payments can only be assessed based on this new reporting, payments won't be collected for 2014.  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."