Anybody else see this coming? OK, fine, neither did I, but I gotta say my surprise didn’t take long to fade, either.
After months of preparation, speculation and resignation, the Obama Administration — or more specifically, Treasury — backed off the employer mandate, essentially giving mid-to-large employers a year-long reprieve.
So, yeah, what an obsessed House, clueless voters and nine Supreme Court justices couldn’t do, the administration did itself, veering away from the cliff we’ve all been barreling toward for months now. (Which oddly makes me think of Thelma and Louise, and how much worse the ending would’ve been if they’d just pulled over.)
This late-breaking story — on the cusp of a holiday — brought more questions than answers.
What does this mean for the exchanges? Nothing that I can see. Those remain on track.
What about individuals? Unaffected. That mandate remains as is. Which is also why I fully expect exchange enrollment to move ahead as is.
Why Treasury? Despite the headlines, from my reading of this — and, admittedly, I’m no attorney — the mandate (or tax, according to Justice Roberts) itself remains intact. It’s the actual enforcement that’s been delayed. Which is why this falls under the jurisdiction of the Treasury department.
Why now? That’s the tricky part. I can’t help but think the holiday week played a part, but it hasn’t stopped the critics from jumping all over this already. Whether the checked-out public bites is another matter entirely.