Pity the poor HR managers.
That’s the first thought that sprang to mind after I heard the news about the delayed PPACA employer mandate.
I mean, sure, a lot of businesses were relieved to get the extra time. But in the HR world, it’s fairly equivalent to canceling a moon shot, right? Months, if not years, of preparation and all of the momentum now put on hold.
And then, just as quietly as the first shoe, the other loafer gets dropped.
As reported on this site (and first, I believe, by the Washington Post), the Obama administration also won’t expect the coming insurance exchanges to bother to verify individual applicant’s income and health insurance status, at least not until 2015.
So now, to receive federal tax subsidies to help buy insurance, someone can simply claim their income falls between 100 percent to 400 percent of the federal poverty line and that they don’t have access to affordable insurance through an employer.
This, of course, is pretty much like expecting Wesley Snipes to fully and accurately report his taxes.
Sara Rosenbaum, a health policy professor at George Washington University, summed it up nicely, saying she thought Health and Health Services was doing “the best that it can under the circumstances.”
The chortling, guffawing and snorts of contempt and disgust could be heard from shore to shore.
And that was just the HHS staffers.
Meanwhile, like a Novocain shot, a numbed sense of disbelief spread through the halls of HR departments across the land.
How could it be, after so much debate in Congress, after arguments before the Supreme Court, after all of the scrambling, hair-pulling and endless meetings, that the deadline is now … a whole extra year later than had been expected?
The answer to that is as simple as this law is complicated: It’s all too much.
Getting the nation’s arms around legislation that changes so much about the way we live is not something that happens overnight.
A lot of critics of the law have been saying as much from the beginning. Now, finally, the administration is bending, too, raising hope that common sense might be making a small comeback in the West Wing.
It’s not too late, though as one close observer noted, these delays are a clear signal the government is in “triage mode.”
It’s an embarrassment, really, for all concerned.
But we all knew the Pollyannas were being blind in their optimism. And it was abundantly clear the critics rarely offered little more than overheated rhetoric.
So now the gov’ment is trying to figure it all out and we’re likely to see even more delays and the only thing that will be different is that, next time, none of us should be so surprised.
For more from Allen Greenberg, see: