Obama Pushes Health Care Deadline Back, Businesses Cheer

Jul 3, 2013

On Tuesday, President Obama announced that one-year delay for a crucial aspect of his Affordable Care Act. The delay gives businesses another year to figure out how to comply with the law.

One of the basic premises of Obama's healthcare law was that it would expand health insurance coverage to more people. One part of the law would have required medium and large companies to provide health coverage for their workers or pay a fine. Earlier this week, the Obama administration announced it would delay that aspect of the law for a year. Jennifer Herz is assistant counsel at the Connecticut Business and Industry Association. She says her members welcome the extra year.

"Most businesses in Connecticut offer insurance for their employees and we haven't heard from folks that they're going to stop doing that. I think what this law imposes on a lot of employers is what you initially said -- the administrative burden as far as figuring out exactly how to comply and then making that happen. And it's something that is confusing and I think employers definitely appreciate more time to make sure they get it right." Kevin Counihan is the man who runs Connecticut's response to the Affordable Care Act. He says the administration made the right decision. But... "I think it's also more optics than substance."

He means that the act was designed to better insure three groups of people: the uninsured, the poor, and those who work for small businesses. So Counihan says the delay announced this week won't really affect that many people. "So it wasn't really about getting employees covered. It was more about reporting and data requirements." And now, medium and large employers will have more time to get it right.