Under the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, businesses with more than 50 employees face a fine of up to $3,000 per employee if they don’t offer affordable insurance. Surrounded by controversy and legal red tape, employers were expected to pay a collective $10 billion in penalties related to compliance with the law in 2014, with an even greater economic headwind resulting from work spent complying with the provision.
But on July 2, the White House announced that it would suspend ACA reporting for 2014, in effect delaying the process of penalizing companies who fail to comply and giving employers more time to satisfy the requirements of the law. The news was a windfall to thousands of businesses and economists who predicted that the law would slow hiring at a critical time in the recovery of the labor market.
“First, we are cutting red tape and simplifying the reporting process,” commented Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Barack Obama, who authored a White House blog post on the reporting suspension. “We have heard the concern that the reporting called for under the law about each worker’s access to and enrollment in health insurance requires new data collection systems and coordination.”