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Why Is Obamacare's Employer Mandate Delayed Until after 2014 Elections?

6:36 PM, Jul 2, 2013 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Obamacare's employer mandate, which would require businesses with 50 or more employees to provide employees with government-approved health insurance or pay big fines, was supposed to take effect on January 1, 2014. But Bloomberg reports the deadline for the employer mandate has been pushed back one year:

Businesses won’t be penalized next year if they don’t provide workers health insurance after the Obama administration decided to delay a key requirement under its health-care law, two administration officials said.

The decision will come in regulatory guidance to be issued later this week. It addresses vehement complaints from employer groups about the administrative burden of reporting requirements, though it may also affect coverage provided to some workers. 

As Stephen F. Hayes reports in THE WEEKLY STANDARD, Obamacare has been a big drag on employment: 

It’s been one year since the Supreme Court decision that allowed Obama administration officials to begin implementing the Affordable Care Act, and the frequency and volume of reports about the challenges facing those reforms—and the difficulties they are visiting on those who were supposed to benefit from them—are increasing dramatically.

Jeff Vernon, an employee of Scrambler Marie’s restaurant in Toledo, Ohio, told a local reporter that the owners were cutting his hours to avoid penalties under Obamacare. Businesses with more than 49 employees have to offer insurance to all “full-time” workers—defined as those who put in 30 hours or more each week. The result, for Vernon: $400 less in take-home pay every month. “That leaves me $27.50 for two weeks to live off of,” he explained. Vernon said the owners tried to avoid the cuts but didn’t have any other recourse. “They were real good about that,” he added. “The last thing they wanted to do was cut people. They don’t want to fire anybody.”

Other business owners haven’t been able to avoid eliminating jobs. A Gallup poll taken in June found that nearly one in five small businesses—19 percent of those surveyed—have cut workers “as a specific result of the Affordable Care Act.” The same poll, first reported by CNBC, found that 41 percent of those interviewed had suspended hiring because of Obamacare. The poll of 603 business owners with less than $20 million in annual sales also found that 55 percent believe Obamacare will lead to higher health care costs, while just 5 percent saw future cost savings.

Two obvious questions now face President Obama. First, why is he delaying the employer mandate? And second, if he's delaying the employer mandate, why not delay the rest of the law?

The answer to the first question is quite obvious:

The answer to the second question isn't quite so clear.

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