The U.S. administration on Tuesday said it will not require employers to provide health insurance for their workers until 2015, in a move that delays a key provision of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law by a year.
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The delay of part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act represents the administration's response to widespread complaints about the reporting requirements for employers with more than 50 workers who are subject to the mandate.
"We have been in a dialogue with businesses and we think we can simplify the new reporting. We want to give businesses who want to provide health insurance the time to get this right," a senior administration official said.
The move could add to speculation about whether healthcare reform will be implemented by the time the law is scheduled to come into full effect on January 1.
The administration has already delayed insurance offerings for small businesses that were to be made available through new online exchanges. A recent report by the watchdog Government Accountability Office also called into question whether new insurance marketplaces for millions of individuals would meet an October 1 deadline for open enrollment.
Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to Obama, said in a blog post on Monday that the government was fully prepared to open the new insurance exchanges for individuals in October.
(Reporting by David Morgan; editing by Prudence Crowther)