Recently I wrote about provisions in the health care law that would impact small businesses. Last week, the Obama administration announced that one of those provisions – the employer mandate – would be delayed until 2015.
I have never supported this law and have repeatedly voted for its repeal. I do believe delaying the employer mandate is better for businesses, but I’m very concerned about how the delay happened.
While the Constitution empowers the president to execute the law, the executive branch can’t change the law. Rather than asking for a legislative fix, the president bypassed Congress and made the change through a blog post on the White House website, raising serious constitutional questions.
Three House committees are already looking into the constitutionality of the administration’s announcement as well as if the administration plans to delay any other major provisions.
There has been a lot of confusion over the implementation of the health care law, and these delays will not help clear that up. I hope the information below helps answer some of the questions you have:
Why was the employer mandate delayed?
It’s been well documented that the health care law was not thoroughly thought out, but now the administration is coming face-to-face with the consequences of a poorly drafted bill. This delay buys time for the administration to figure out how to implement the law’s complicated new rules.
What does the delay mean for your health care coverage?
Most people – including those who get coverage through their job at a large company that already offers health insurance, those who work at a small company (fewer than 50 employees), Medicaid or Medicare beneficiaries, or those that have a private insurance policy – won’t notice a change from this year to next because of the delay. If you don’t fall into one of those categories, it’s not yet clear how you will be impacted.
Of note, the individual mandate is still scheduled to take effect in 2014, meaning everyone must have coverage or pay a penalty.
Is the rest of the law still on track?
The other large provisions of the law, like the individual mandate, are still moving forward, but some smaller provisions have seen delays. For example, the administration missed a series of deadlines when setting up the health insurance exchanges for small businesses, so those small businesses that enter into the exchange will not be given a choice about which plan to enroll in for the first year.
This is an important issue that I am watching closely. As updates become available, I’ll be sure to continue to share them.
Kay Granger represents the 12th District of Texas in the United States House of Representatives.