Contributed by Rebecca Dobbs Bush
On July 2, 2013, the White House announced that it would delay enforcement of the Employer Mandate Provisions in Health Care Reform from January 1, 2014 to January 1, 2015. Par for the course with Health Care Reform, we are again faced with last minute delays rewarding those who were doing nothing to prepare and frustrating those trying to be proactive to stay compliant.
The Executive Branch is charged with enforcement of the laws so the idea is that they have the ability to simply refuse to enforce a piece of legislation or delay enforcement of it. However, some are arguing that the White House does not have this type of unilateral authority. The question becomes whether there is anyone out there that would actually bring litigation challenging the current administration and seeking to enforce the confusing, costly and burdensome employer mandate provisions.
The individual mandate and other provisions of Health Care Reform remain in effect and are proceeding as scheduled. The employer mandate is so far the only part of the legislation impacted by the White House’s recent announcement.
Under the prior deadlines, many employers were learning that it was too late to make decisions about restructuring their workforce to minimize obligations under the employer mandates. This delay will allow those employers time to reconsider whether doing so is an appropriate strategy.