Employer Mandate Delayed for Mid-Size Businesses Until 2016

Obamacare’s employer mandate was supposed to be implemented in 2014.  But that got pushed back to 2015.  And yesterday, the Obama administration announced yet another pushback.  This time, mid-size businesses with 50-99 full-time employees will not have to provide federally qualified health coverage to workers until 2016.

Large businesses with over 100 full-time employees will be granted some flexibility.  Today’s New York Times writes:

In addition, the administration said the requirement would be put into effect gradually for employers with 100 or more employees. Employers in this category will need to offer coverage to 70 percent of full-time employees in 2015 and 95 percent in 2016 and later years, or they will be subject to tax penalties. 

So how does the president get away with the federal health law’s variety of delays?  Apparently, the Internal Revenue Code’s “transition relief” is the answer:

 J. Mark Iwry, deputy assistant Treasury secretary for health policy, said the administration had broad “authority to grant transition relief” under a section of the Internal Revenue Code that directs the Treasury secretary to “prescribe all needful rules and regulations for the enforcement” of tax obligations. This authority has often been used to postpone the application of new laws that would cause “unreasonable administrative burdens or costs” to taxpayers, Mr. Iwry said.  

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