The Obama administration announced yesterday that it would delay implementation of the employer insurance mandate until 2015, which prompted Republicans to squeal in glee and remind Americans yet again that Obamacare will be the nation’s downfall. The mandate requires employers with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance or pay a penalty. Ezra Klein points out that the employer mandate is an ill-conceived policy that encourages businesses to reduce worker hours to dodge the penalty.
The mandate is largely symbolic and delaying it won’t undermine the law’s core purpose: to provide health coverage to the uninsured. It’s easy to view this as a cave to the business community, but the administration may have decided that it’s better to ensure that the exchanges are running smoothly before focusing on less critical provisions of the law.
Nobody talks much now about the rocky implementation of the Medicare prescription drug benefit a few years ago. I expect the same will hold true of Obamacare.