House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., explained to reporters that the Treasury Department didn’t really delay the employer mandate of Obamacare, even though the Treasury Department said that businesses don’t have to pay the employer mandate penalty if they don’t provide insurance to employees next year.
“The mandate was not delayed,” Pelosi told reporters during the press briefing today. “Certain reporting by businesses that could be perceived by as onerous — that reporting requirement was delayed, and partially to review how it would work and how it could be better. It was not a delay of the mandate for businesses and there should not be a delay for individuals.”
Unlike Pelosi, the Treasury Department’s Mark Mazur acknowledged that the mandate is delayed if the reporting requirements are delayed. “We recognize that this transition relief will make it impractical to determine which employers owe shared responsibility payments (under section 4980H) for 2014,” Mazur wrote. “Accordingly, we are extending this transition relief to the employer shared responsibility payments. These payments will not apply for 2014. Any employer shared responsibility payments will not apply until 2015.”
Mazur expressed the hope that employers will “voluntarily implement” the mandate reporting requirements in 2014.
Update: “As the Department of Treasury states in their announcement that the employer responsibility requirement now begins in 2015, employers will be encouraged to maintain or expand coverage during the 2014 transition period,” Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s communications director, wrote in an email to the Washington Examiner. “They also specifically note that the new start date does not affect employees’ access to the premium tax credits available under the ACA or any other provision of the law. We do not expect employer behavior to change and only four percent of businesses were subject to this requirement in the first place. There is no fundamental change to the law.”