Jarrett: 'Full steam ahead' for ObamaCare marketplaces, despite business delay

White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said the administration remained "full steam ahead" for the implementation of health insurance marketplaces, despite the announcement of a delay in a mandate requiring businesses to provide workers with health insurance.

"We are full steam ahead for the Marketplaces opening on October 1," Jarrett said in a blog post explaining the move on the White House website.

The marketplaces will allow small businesses to shop online for health coverage for their employees from private health insurance providers whose coverage meets basic guidelines.

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The administration has not delayed implementation of the individual mandate, which requires most taxpayers to either purchase insurance or pay a penalty. That means more individuals are likely to purchase insurance through the exchanges, since employers won't be compelled to immediately offer coverage and individuals face tax penalties if they remain uninsured.

Taxpayers will be offered a tax credit to help cover the cost.

But Republican critics argued that proceeding with the individual mandate created a double standard, allowing businesses a break in grappling with the law's complexity without offering a similar opportunity to individuals.

"That the Obama Administration is putting off this job-killing requirement on employers, but not individuals and families, shows how deeply flawed the president's signature domestic policy achievement is," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.

"While a delay of this mandate is welcome news since it shows the challenges the employers are facing complying with it, a delay — conveniently past the 2014 election — only adds to the uncertainty these job creators face because of ObamaCare."

- Elise Viebeck contributed.