House delays employer, individual mandates under Affordable Care Act

170px-Seal_of_the_United_States_House_of_Representatives.svgThe U.S. House of Representatives approved on Wednesday two pieces of legislation that would delay both the employer and individual mandates under the Affordable Care Act.

Earlier this month, the Obama administration announced that it would delay the implementation of the employer mandate, which requires firms with 50 or more employees to offer health coverage or face penalties, until 2015 to allow businesses more time to comply with the rules.

“We welcome this delay as an opportunity to improve our [members’] compliance efforts and for the exchanges to implement the complex interplay of reporting and verification to make subsidy eligibility and penalty determination possible,” the National Retail Federation said in a letter to Congress. “NRF also welcomes this Congressional effort to clearly and directly delay the requirements, thus underlining the existing Administration commitment.”

The House voted 264-161 to approve H.R. 2667, which codifies the Obama administration’s delay of the employer mandate for one year. Members voted 251-174 to pass H.R. 2668, which would delay the individual mandate until 2015, California Healthline reports.

Democrats have criticized the measures, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) calling the bills “political stunts.” Republicans, however, maintain that the Obama administration’s decision to delay only the employer mandate is not fair to American citizens.

The House has voted three times to fully repeal the healthcare law and 39 times to alter, defund or dismantle it, according to ABC News.

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