The House Ways and Means Committee scheduled a July 17 vote on legislation that would codify the administration's employer-mandate extension and also put off the individual mandate to the same date, Jan. 1, 2015.
“It is only fair that hardworking taxpayers and families are treated just as well as businesses,” said Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.).
On July 2, the Obama administration announced the one-year employer-mandate extension in response to companies' concerns about implementing the health-care law.
Brian Turmail, Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) executive director of public affairs, says the delay “raises concerns about the significant complexities in the measure and the administration’s ability to correctly implement it.”
Despite the new implementation date, AGC is recommending that its member firms continue to operate as if the mandate were going into effect on the original Jan. 1, 2014, date. “It’s good practice for members to be in a better position when it goes into effect,” Turmail says. “That’s the pragmatic approach.”
Several business organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, praised the administration's action. “As we move forward, we will continue to work with the administration and lawmakers to mitigate potential problems associated with Obamacare implementation,” Thomas Donohue, U.S. Chamber president and CEO, said in a statement.
Amanda Austin, National Federation of Independent Business director of federal public policy, said the delay illustrates that the mandate will “be difficult, if not impossible,” to carry out. “Temporary relief is small consolation,” Austin said in a statement. “We need a permanent fix to this provision to provide long-term relief for small employers.”
Several unions, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), in recent weeks have reiterated concerns that various provisions in the health-care law could drive up costs for multi-employer health plans. They say those higher costs would threaten unions' ability to remain competitive. An IBEW white paper on the ACA's impact contends, for example, that the 50-employee threshold for the employer mandate is high and would exempt nearly all construction firms from that requirement.