Many support delay of employer mandate in health care law

Many support delay of employer mandate in health care reform law

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Copper Cellar Chief Executive Officer Bart Fricks says he's pleased to have another year to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Copper Cellar Chief Executive Officer Bart Fricks says he's pleased to have another year to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
"I think it was a truly move to help businesses because they wanted to be right, they wanted to get things right," said Knox County Democratic Party chair Linda Haney. "I think it was a truly move to help businesses because they wanted to be right, they wanted to get things right," said Knox County Democratic Party chair Linda Haney.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The Obama administration is delaying a significant portion of the president's health care overhaul law - the requirement that medium to large companies provide affordable health care. 

That portion of the law was on the verge of going into practice. The postponement has taken administration allies and adversaries alike by surprise. 

Many Republicans have questioned the timing of the delay, either saying it exploits the weaknesses of the president's entire healthcare reform law, or claiming that the president made the decision to avoid political backlash for Democrats.  

The law would have gone into effect during the 2014 election cycle. 

Under the provision, companies with 50 or more workers face a fine of as much as $3,000 per employee if they don't offer affordable insurance.

Copper Cellar Chief Executive Officer Bart Fricks says he's pleased to have another year to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

Although either way, he estimates it will cost his company around $250,000 to meet the requirements.   

"We don't have a good idea of how many employees will take the company and or opt out and take the government plan," Fricks said. 

Many medium to large businesses already offer health insurance to their employees.

Rocky Goode consults with companies like Pilot Flying J and Covenant Health on employment benefits and ways to make sure companies don't get penalized when the new law goes into effect.  

"The bill has been so complicated. It touches all aspects of business, it touches the employee, the employer, and touches the provider," said Goode, a senior executive vice president of Employee Benefits for Willis. 

Many Republicans have said the health care law is already flawed and this decision proves it. 

In a statement, Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander said, "Pushing the implementation of the employer mandate until after the 2014 election confirms the law was an historic mistake. It should be repealed and replaced with effective legislation that will reduce costs by involving patients in health care decision making."  

"That's just a political statement to embed fear into people that this program is not going to work," said Knox County Democratic Party chair Linda Haney.  

Haney says she doesn't believe the decision is about politics, and believes in the health care law.

"I think it was a truly move to help businesses because they wanted to be right, they wanted to get things right," said Haney.

Some think there could be more obstacles implementing all elements of the law.

"I think this is just the beginning. We may see some delays on some other things," said Goode.

Workers will still be able to get coverage outside of their employer's plan.

Many may qualify for subsidized insurance through the new marketplace health care exchange, which is set to debut in October 2013.

U.S. Rep. John Duncan, Jr. told 6 News in a statement, "I have said all along that Obamacare is so expensive, convoluted, and complicated that no one can figure it out. This announcement is just more proof of how complicated and dire the situation has become."  

Congressman Phil Roe said, "The administration's delay is a formal admission that this law can't be fixed."

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