August 2, 2013
President Barack Obama's decision to delay implementation of part of his healthcare reformlaw will cost $12 billion and leave a million fewer Americans with employer-sponsored health insurancein 2014, congressional researchers said Tuesday.
The report by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office is the first authoritative estimate of the human and fiscal cost from the administration's unexpected one-year delay announced July 2 of the employer mandate - a requirement for larger businesses to provide health coverage for their workers or pay a penalty.
The analysts said the delay will add to the cost of "Obamacare's" insurance-coverage provisions over the next 10 years. Penalties paid by employers would be lower and more individuals who otherwise might have had employer coverage will need federal insurance subsidies.
"Of those who would otherwise have obtained employment-based coverage, roughly half will be uninsured (in 2014)," CBO said in a July 30 letter to Representative Paul Ryan, Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee.
Under Obama's healthcare reform law, employers with 50 or more full-time workers were supposed to provide healthcare coverage or incur penalties beginning January 1. But the requirement will now begin in 2015.
The delay intensified doubts about the administration's ability to implement Obama's signature domestic policy achievement and stirred Republican calls for a similar delay in another Obamacare mandate that requires most individuals to havehealth insurance in 2014.