The Obama administration’s decision to give employers another year to offer their workers insurance or pay a penalty was motivated by politics, a Senate Republican contends.
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) questioned the administration’s authority to postpone enactment of the contentious employer mandate.
“In an attempt to push the most economically crushing and burdensome regulations past the 2014 election, President Obama decided he had the authority to waive the employer mandate because he knows that it's a political liability,” Enzi said.
The decision came under fierce pressure from business groups, who warned that unresolved questions about new Internal Revenue Service reporting requirements would cause havoc.
Still, the announcement shocked the private sector, which believed the deadline to comply was set in stone. Beyond giving businesses until January of 2015 to comply with the employer mandate, the administration plans to draft a simpler set of reporting rules, with help from the private sector.
“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,” White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett wrote in a blog post. “We will convene employers, insurers, and experts to propose a smarter system and, in the interim, suspend reporting for 2014.”
Republicans seized on the decision, describing it as executive overstep on the part of the president.
“Where did he find this authority to pick and choose what parts of the law he'll put in place and when?” Enzi questioned. “The real answer is after 20,000 pages and still adding new regulations, and over 150 new bureaucratic agencies, boards, and programs, they still haven't figured out what is in the law, or how to make the law work, which is why we need to permanently delay implementation of the law.”