Employer Mandate Delay: Is It Legal?


By Hadley Heath

On July 3, the White House announced that the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate would be delayed until 2015. The mandate applies to employers with 50 or more workers, and punishes firms who do not provide adequate and affordable coverage with a fine of $2,000 or $3,000 per worker. 

According to the White House, the employer mandate - originally scheduled for Jan. 1, 2014 - will now take effect Jan. 1, 2015. 

Critics have suggested that the Administration lacks the legal authority to unilaterally delay a major provision of the ACA.  A watchdog group is gathering information and reaching out to supporters about potentially filing a suit to challenge the delay. Judicial Watch stated the following:

Judicial Watch is considering litigation challenging President Obama’s rewriting of Obamacare.  Specifically, President Obama has unilaterally rewritten the law to delay the “employer mandate,” which was scheduled to go in effect on January 1, 2014, for at least a year.  At the same time, he did not rewrite the law to delay the “individual mandate,” which requires nearly all Americans to have Obama-approved health insurance by that same date or pay a tax penalty.

After the White House announced the delay, the House of Representatives held a vote on the same measure, attempting to codify the delay through legislation. House Republicans, with the support of 13 Democrats, passed the measure, but it has not been taken up in the Senate. (And don't hold your breath.)

The House also voted on a one-year delay of the law's individual mandate, which passed with the support of 22 Democrats. This legislation was also DOA in the Senate. 



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