Warner Asks Administration To Again Delay ACA Employer Mandate

Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) has asked the Obama administration to either delay or minimize the Code Secs. 498OH, 6055 and 6056 reporting requirements for employers under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). In a letter dated July 23 to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Warner said he has concerns over the ability of employers to comply with the ACA reporting requirements in time for their general start date on Jan. 1, 2015.

“I would hope that in the coming weeks you work with the business community to find an appropriate middle ground to ensure that businesses aren’t left with a huge regulatory burden while still ensuring individuals have access to appropriate coverage options,” wrote Warner. “This could include relaxing some of the reporting requirements for another year for some businesses, or just requiring prospective reporting if coverage is being offered. If this is not possible, I urge you to consider delaying the full implementation for another year.”

Warner noted that he had raised concerns before over whether there was adequate time for education and system development to allow employers to fully comply with all of the employer regulations and urged consideration of a transitional delay. “Unfortunately, the March regulations did not go as far as I had wanted and many of my stated concerns went unheeded,” wrote Warner.

In addition, Warner said that he believes that the Treasury Department has the authority to moderate many of his concerns administratively, especially as it continues to work through ways “to ensure that compliance with the mandate is not burdensome or onerous on business.” He cited the Treasury Department’s well-established authority under Code Sec. 7805(a) as a viable means for granting relief without legislative action.

Warner has introduced and cosponsored a series of legislative fixes that he said “would go a long way toward mitigating” some of his concerns. The Commonsense Reporting Bill (Sen 2176) would require changes to the underlying requirements while also pushing the agencies to focus on creating an upfront certification process. The Small Business Stability Bill (Sen 2168) would have ensured that, for the purposes of the mandate, large businesses would include 100 or more employees, not 50. The Realistic Employer Responsibility Bill (Sen 1330) would legislatively delay the implementation of the mandate until 2016.
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