Obamacare Delayed By One Year: What Does It Mean? 6 Questions And Answers

Tyler Durden's picture

Confused by last night's bombshell white flag of defeat by the Obama administration which delayed the implementation of the employer mandate, aka the "shared-responsibility rules" by one year until 2015 derailing the public education campaign that the rollout of Obamacare was set to take place in October? Then the following list of 6 questions and answers from Politico analyzing the ins and out of the decision is for you.

From Politico: 6 questions about the Obamacare mandate

Does this derail Obamacare?

It doesn’t derail it. But it hurts, at least in how the public sees it and how the critics can talk about it.

Polls have already shown that Americans still don’t know much and have a lot of misperceptions about the 3-year-old law. This won’t help, particularly with the critics emboldened to talk about chaotic implementation of a fatally flawed policy.

The administration insists that the new health insurance exchanges or marketplaces will start enrollment on time this Oct. 1. A lot more people will get covered in those new markets than through the employer mandate, which wasn’t as central to the coverage push because most big businesses already offer health benefits. But it could mean that fewer people do get coverage next year.

The announcement gave fresh ammunition to GOP opponents.

Republicans used it to again say that the law should be repealed and replaced. Repeal won’t happen as long as President Barack Obama’s in the White House, but some groups on Tuesday renewed their calls for defunding the health law – a throwback to congressional fights in the previous Congress. Even before this announcement, some in the GOP had been pushing for another funding fight, maybe tied into the coming battles over the debt ceiling. And of course it will resonate in the 2014 House and Senate campaigns.

“Pushing the implementation of the employer mandate until after the 2014 election confirms the law was a historic mistake,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the top Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Health Committee.

Will more health law dominos fall?

One immediate question people were asking: Is this the only delay the Obama administration will be announcing? Or is it the first in a line of dominos — with the individual mandate being the most important domino. After all, the administration has already delayed until 2015 a key feature in the small-business exchanges that would have given workers more choice in health plans.

And the individual mandate is a prime target for opponents who can say, why should big companies get out of confounding Obamacare rules if an average citizen cannot?

The White House put up a blog post stressing that the main elements of the law will be ready to go in October. And allies said the move Tuesday put a piece of the law — but not the core of it — on hold.

Asked whether the individual mandate could be pushed back, Ron Pollack, head of the Families USA advocacy group said, “I believe that is inconceivable.” The employer mandate is a segment of the law, but the individual mandate is its core.

And don’t expect the individual mandate, which survived a Supreme Court challenge last year, to go down easily. For starters, insurance companies would pitch a fit. They need the individual mandate if they are going to provide costly new services to cover everyone, sick and healthy, as the law requires.

Why did Treasury have to do this?

Businesses with more than 50 workers were supposed to provide health insurance starting in 2014 or face a penalty of $2,000 per employee. That’s been put on hold after a noisy outcry from business groups and a lot of commentary about how the law was hurting business as the economic recovery was still fragile.

Business groups said the rules and regulations about employee coverage — who was full time, what kind of benefits they were getting, what requirements were being fulfilled — were cumbersome. So on Tuesday the Treasury, which is responsible for this piece of Obamacare, said it had agreed to go back to the drawing board.

Later this summer, “after a dialogue with stakeholders,” Treasury will try to come up with a streamlined set of regs,”consistent with effective implementation of the law,” an official wrote in a blog post announcing the decision.

Who will be hurt by the delay?

Conservative health analysts predicted employers would drop coverage and dump employees into the taxpayer-subsidized exchanges.

“Essentially for calendar 2014 the act of dropping coverage and dumping employees into the exchanges is on sale,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and a former head of the Congressional Budget Office.

More liberal health experts predicted that big business would stick to the status quo. The CBO in the past has said the employer mandate wouldn’t add a lot of newly covered people.

Even though critics of the health law often complain that it’s killing small businesses, any business with 50 or fewer workers is exempt from the coverage rules. They can cover workers — but don’t have to. Those that do may get subsidies, and that’s not changing under the policies announced Tuesday.

Big businesses tend to cover workers already. In 2012, 98 percent of companies with more than 200 employees provided health benefits to their workforce, according to an annual Kaiser Family Foundation survey.

It’s the midsized companies that may have the biggest impact from this delayed policy. But even here, 94 percent of firms with 50 to 199 workers offer coverage, although not necessarily to everyone.

“At the margins, some firms that might have otherwise offered insurance may wait to see how things play out,” said Paul Van de Water, a health policy expert at the Center on Budget workers, especially in the restaurant and retail industries, are likely to see their hours cut by businesses trying to avoid paying the penalties, Brian Haile, senior vice president for health policy at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, wrote in an email.

And if people do lose coverage on the job — or don’t get coverage at work that they anticipated in 2014 — they can get insurance in the exhanges, possibly qualifying for tax credits depending on their income.

Who’s pleased about the mandate delay?

Businesses who don’t have to worry about the rules for another year and Republicans who got more chances to say that Obamacare isn’t ready for prime time — and may never be.

“This announcement means even the Obama administration knows the ‘train wreck’ will only get worse,” House Speaker John Boehner said. “This is a clear acknowledgment that the law is unworkable, and it underscores the need to repeal the law and replace it with effective, patient-centered reforms.”

Democrats were largely silent, but a few did depict the delay as a sign that the law is being implemented responsibly.

“Flexibility is a good thing,” said Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “Both the administration and Senate Democrats have shown — and continue to show — a willingness to be flexible and work with all interested parties to make sure that implementation of the Affordable Care Act is as beneficial as possible to all involved. It is better to do this right than fast.”

Is there a silver lining for the White House?

Maybe a few small ones. It should quell some of the outcry from the business community about the paperwork burden, and it may stop some of the drumbeat of businesses cutting their workers’ hours to avoid having to cover anyone who works 30 hours or more. But if that bad news subsides, the pattern of Obamacare is there’s always another critical storyline to replace it.

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RaceToTheBottom's picture

I suppose I can put off my operation for a year....

francis_sawyer's picture

I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than to have a frontal lobotomy...

NoDebt's picture

What is most shocking is that he can just decide willy-nilly to change things at his discretion.  I guess that's what you get to do when it's YOUR law- YOU can change it anytime you like.

We are so screwed on this thing it's not even funny.

How far are we from Obama just deciding to raise income tax rates or capital gains and just call it a "discretionary change to Obamacare"?  Or authorize the purchase of more Drones through Obamacare?  Is there anything thise law CAN'T be used for by the administration?

McMolotov's picture

It's good to be the king.

El Viejo's picture

God and the devil are always in the details. It's a complicated global village now.

TuesdayBen's picture

Aetna has sent me two letter recently, informing me that my coverage is going up in price by some as yet unspecified amount.

Fuck-off, Obama, you boobish Goon.

Colonel Klink's picture

Sorry OT but ****Please read****

Wonder what this "upcoming" disaster is:




"Important to note, this report says, is that FEMA Region III, the area Russian troops are being requested for, includes Washington D.C. and the surrounding States of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, “strongly suggesting” that the Obama regime has lost confidence in its own military being able to secure its survival should it be called upon to do so."


PS - Spread the story/link around!!

NoDebt's picture

Yeah, I know.  Just when you think we've gotten past that whole "despotic kings and emperors" phase of our political evolution, it rears it's ugly head again.  Like a case of the clap you just can't get rid of.

donsluck's picture

There is no such thing as political "evolution". We still have kings and emperors and always will.

Binko's picture

The bizarre thing is that Congress passes "laws" that are 800 or 1000 pages long. But the laws are still just a broad outline with all the details to be worked out later by bureaucrats. When Obamacare was passed NONE of the difficult details were actually included.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

holy shit, you must be THE WIZAAAARRRRRD!

DosZap's picture

Well it helps the corporations, but the INDIVIUAL mandate is still in effect, and WE pay.


MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

This is a disgrace. I am absolutely shocked at this decision. Progressives have been fighting for this law for decades, and we want results now. America is living in the 19th century. Europe and Canada are way ahead. America is the only first world country that has not yet implemented a universal health care system. When are we going to join the ranks of forward thinking liberal countries and end health inequality once and for all?

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

Yes, MDB, lets be like all the Euro countries that have universal healthcare!!


Oh wait, remind me again about their robust thriving economies??  Can you explain that part of it to me MDB?

quasimodo's picture

Color me stupid but I like life was better in the 19th century...where the fuck do I begin?

XitSam's picture

I disagree. In the 1800s I would have died from appendicitis 10 years ago.

MrSteve's picture

I color you confused- medical advances and being overcharged for insurance are not the same thing...

Matt's picture

Obamacare is NOT Universal Healthcare. It's an "Everybody MUST buy insurance from a cartel" plan. Americans already pay nearly twice as much as everybody else for healthcare, and Obamacare looks set to double those costs again.

While the idea is sound enough, the power of lobbies, along with poor planning and now poor execution, make this a terrible plan over all, in my opinion.

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

Obamacare is just a step in the path to universal healthcare.  They want to royally fuck up the current screwed up system, so that everyone will beg for universal healthcare.  And all universal healthcare is, is another big step in total control of our lives.

zerozulu's picture

I prefer to pay the fine and wait till all dominoes fall.

DaveA's picture

I prefer to not pay the fine.  Other than withholding a refund, the IRS is strictly forbidden to enforce Obamacare penalties against individuals, aka voters.

SRVDisciple's picture

I'm confusd. Was that an adjective or a verb?

Save_America1st's picture

That was classic...milk shot out my nose.

rustymason's picture

Why would anybody come here if they had a pony? Who leaves a country packed with ponies to come to a non-pony country? It doesn't make sense ... am I wrong?

ZDRuX's picture

So you think you'll be able to afford the fees when it's socialized, but can't somehow afford them when it's private? So where how is this gap going to be filled by government? Are the drug companies going to suddenly drop their prices for government, or raise them? Did you even think this through before you said anything?

And how is paying for your own health not "euqality"?! Do you scream we want car equality because one person can afford a car an another can't? Why not socialize everything including food too?

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

"drop their prices for government, or raise them?"

In Canada: drop them.

We just offered more market stability by offering to buy more in bulk. That offers business stability to get so many more sales all at once rather than hope & wait over time that they come in when you need them most. They want the larger bulk income to post to their balance sheets. Fine. We want lower price per unit. Fine. Deal is struck.

thunderchief's picture

Million Dollar Bonus...

Fuck Off...

Save_America1st's picture

it's okay, don't get angry...MDB always forgets to put:  "/sarc off" at the end of his posts.

QE4eva's picture

Uh no.  Obamacare was designed to be a train wreck, and jack the costs of healthcare so high that the new FSA majority would beg for universal healthcare.

Go Tribe's picture

Easy enough to do: get government and "insurance" companies out of healthcare and let people pay cash for services. Would take maybe 3 months to sort itself out, but we'd all be better off.

Quantum Nucleonics's picture

We know MDB is just trolling, but sadly, there are people a lot of people that actually think like this.

Just for the record, all those countries don't have better health systems/outcomes.  Universal health care is universally worse health care.  They ration by scarcity instead of by cost.  Wait times for diagnostic imaging in Canada are months, in the US they are hours.  They stifle innovation - why do you think there are more pharma/biotech/medical companies in the US than the rest of the world combined?  Health outcomes are in many cases MUCH worse.  For example, 5-year survival rates for virtually all cancers are 50 - 200% higher in the US than the UK.  We spend a lot on health care, but we have among the highest disposable income in the world.  Do you need another iPad?  Maybe a CT for that persistent cough instead?

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

incorrect. In Canada it's easy as pie to get a broken arm, leg, whatever fixed right up, owe nothing and go right back to work once your body is able to handle it. Americans on the other hand can kiss their life goodbye. You will likely never work enough after that unless you are very rich to afford the debt for your surgery.

Been there (Canadian story), done that (went back to work right away).

Flat out, we got it better than you.

Americans OWE a lot on healthcare. The primary amount they spend is to a bank repaying a loan that was used to COVER the health care because there was no other way to pay.

Collective / universal health care is not great because it's socialist.

It's great because it reduces redundancies having a larger purchasing power negotiating bulk payment for services, materials & terms of contracts. At the same time the people in it can be removed using an electoral process, indirect as it is, whereas a corrupted corporate insurance company (American) being the ONLY model means you have zero accountability.

The only way a market could take over without universal care and exceed Canada's performance, in America, is to limit the size of the insurance companies and to expose to the market with ZERO EXCEPTION all details of all denials AND I mean all the time. No trade secret or corporate privacy permitted whatsoever.

My wait time in Canada for diagnostic imaging MANY times was hours to days tops. Never weeks, never months.

MillionDollarBogus_'s picture

As of 2012, 26 American hospitals had a Mc Donald's on the premises.

Health care not a priority in the USA..??


Dear Hospital Administrator,

On behalf of thousands of health professionals who work daily to improve public health and who have joined the Value [the] Meal campaign, we are calling on you to help curb the epidemic of diet-related disease and to stop fostering a food environment that promotes harm, not health. We urge you to end your contract with McDonald’s and to take action to remove the McDonald’s restaurant from your hospital.



island's picture

You are soooo passe!  Today America is the land of promoting and rewarding irresponsibility.  Eat fast food, we have you covered with health insurance and sick care.  Lend money to people for things they can't afford, we will bail you out!

johnQpublic's picture

mcdonalds style care...but without the low price

quality of care is the same though

ejmoosa's picture

Only at the pleasure of the President, who apparently can overrule the Legislative branches by deciding which laws will be implemented, and which ones not.


It pays to be King.

donsluck's picture

Actually, that is how our system works. The executive branch executes the laws that the legislative branch passes. Sorry.

Weisshaupt's picture

Did you notice how you said "executes" - that means it is thier job to execute ALL of the laws, not just the ones they happen to feel  like following or want to follow. 

Under the system as intended and ratifed  President does not have the option to NOT execute a law, not that the rule of law means anything to politicans or liberals. They prefer the rule of men.  Much easier. 


ejmoosa's picture

He executed it when he signed it.  

If he did not want it executed he should not have signed it.  But he does not get to pick and choose enforcement.

Sorry you do not understand how it works.  

malikai's picture

I encourage you to contact Attourney General Eric Holder about this most serious grievance.

I can assure you, he will address this immediately.

If anyone will ensure the just laws of our great nation are enforced, he's the man for the job!

SkottFree's picture

Hold up now, we have some earth shaking breaking news coming in on Paula Dean and the N word, go ahead MARZ 1.

Parabox's picture

Large employers over 50 employees are even more incentivised to drop their employer sponsored healthcare in 2014, as there is now no penalty for doing so until 2015.  Anybody with a household income within 400% of the Federal Poverty Level will get subsidies in the individual state exchanges come January 2014.  A househould of 4 earning $94,000 would still qualify for subsidies.  It's about destroying employer sponsored care and getting them on the government subsidy program.  Low wage retail employees working for companies over 50 had better educate themselves about the state exchanges, as they will most likely be their only option for insurance soon, affordable or not.

Shizzmoney's picture

I love how the corporations get a reprieve, but individuals don't from this fail tax.

Maybe we need to petition the Supreme Court to rule that people are also in fact, people.


Skateboarder's picture

Black's Law Shittionary says:


n. the designation for the prosecuting government in a criminal trial, as in People v. Capone. Such a case may also be captioned State v. Davis or in federal prosecutions, United States v. Miller.

And y'all know what a PERSON is. People are not persons, but people are only people when someone's being prosecuted by the government. Otherwise you're a baa-baa black sheep.

SDShack's picture

That was my first thought when I first saw this yesterday. How does 0zer0's action not violate the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution? How does he get to choose one group of people (employees with employer healthcare) over non employee citizens with no healthcare? Of course, everything 0zer0 does is pit one class against another, so why should 0zer0care be any different. But it clearly isn't constitional.

The Master's picture

It means this guy has no fucking clue what he's doing.