Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

July 20, 2013

Fact Check: Pelosi parsing on 'employer mandate'

Nancy Pelosi was playing a semantic word game when she claimed there “was not a delay of the mandate for the businesses” in the new health care law. That was in fact the effect of a decision announced recently by the Treasury.

The Treasury announced on July 2 that it was delaying for a year, until 2015, the Affordable Care Act requirement that large employers provide health coverage or face penalties.

In her weekly press conference on July 11, House Democratic Leader Pelosi was asked about Republican calls to also delay the so-called individual mandate that will require people to buy insurance or face a tax penalty next year.

Pelosi, July 11: In fact, the point is, is that the mandate was not delayed. Certain reporting by businesses that could be perceived 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 the businesses, and there shouldn’t be a delay of the mandate for individuals. (Starts at the 9:06 mark.)

In response to complaints from the business community about the complexity of reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act, and the need for more time to implement them, the Treasury released a blog post on July 2 announcing the one-year reprieve.

Mark J. Mazur, Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, July 2: The Administration is announcing that it will provide an additional year before the ACA mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements begin.

As a result of the one-year delay in reporting requirements, the Treasury announced that it would also suspend the tax penalties for large businesses that fail to provide insurance to their employees — essentially the hammer behind the “mandate.” The law requires businesses with more than 50 employees to provide health coverage to all of their full-time workers (those working at least 30 hours per week) or face a tax penalty of $2,000 per employee.

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