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Republicans Vote To Suspend Obamacare Reporting

Monday, 22 July 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Mike Godfrey
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Author: Mike Godfrey

Following the United States Administration's announced delay of one year before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandatory employer reporting requirements begin, the Republican-led House of Representatives has passed legislation, which would put that delay into law and also provide an equivalent delay to employee requirements.

Within the provisions of the ACA, most Americans will be required to maintain "minimum essential" health insurance coverage, and large employers will be encouraged to offer that health coverage. Beginning in 2014, those individuals and employers who do not comply with these mandates – the "employee mandate" and "employer mandate" – were to make "shared responsibility" payments, or tax penalties, to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Large employers with 50 or more full-time workers that do not offer health coverage will pay a penalty tax to the IRS of USD2,000 to USD3,000 per employee if any of their workers (exempting the first 30) had to obtain, instead, health insurance coverage through a health insurance exchange.

For individuals, that payment will be equal to the greater of USD95 or one percent of their taxable income in 2014, USD325 or two percent in 2015, and USD695 or 2.5 percent from 2016 onwards. Individuals will thereby be able to choose not to have health insurance and pay higher taxes, or purchase health insurance and pay lower taxes.

Earlier this month, the Treasury Department said that it is to re-vamp and simplify the reporting process for businesses, and would therefore suspend large employer reporting requirements for 2014, and, as a consequence, employers would not be assessed for penalties before 2015. On the other hand, it confirmed that the individual mandate, and the assessment of its tax penalties, will still apply in 2014.

While concluding that, in their view, the delay to the ACA's employer mandate should also, on an equitable basis, be extended to employees, the House passed The Authority for Mandate Delay Act, which puts the one-year employer mandate delay into the law, and also The Fairness for American Families Act, which delays the ACA's individual mandate for the same year, on July 17.

Upon passage of the legislation, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R – Wisconsin) commented that Republicans had "defended two key principles. First, we upheld the principle of fairness. We gave families the same relief that the President gave businesses. Second, we upheld the rule of law. The President doesn't get to pick which laws to enforce. He must enforce them all."

John Boehner (R – Ohio), the Speaker of the House of Representatives, concluded that the Administration's decision to delay the mandate on businesses while leaving the rest of America on the hook "is strictly, and simply, unfair to the American people ... How are we going to give big businesses in America a break, without giving individuals and families the same break."

However, the House votes are unlikely to count for much as neither bill is expected to pass the Democrat-led Senate, and President Barack Obama has already said he would veto any bill that postponed implementation of the individual mandate.



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