Health & Human Services

Treasury Official: No More Obamacare Delays Coming

A top Treasury official told a House committee Thursday that there are no immediate plans to delay any other provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), though he left open the possibility that that could change.
July 18, 2013

A top Treasury official told a House committee Thursday that there are no immediate plans to delay any other provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), though he left open the possibility that that could change.

Pressed by multiple House members on whether there could be additional implementation delays, J. Mark Iwry, a senior advisor to U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, said that the department had not considered similar postponements of other provisions in the law. The Obama administration recently announced it would delay the employer mandate portion of the law, which requires businesses with more than 50 employees to offer health coverage or pay a penalty, until 2015.

"We don't have any specific provisions that we've identified for which we would do this," Iwry said. But, he added, "Consistent with our normal process, we'll evaluate the need for any other possible transition relief on a case by case basis."

Iwry's testimony came the day after the House codified the White House's decision to postpone the employer mandate. The House also passed a resolution to postpone the individual mandate, though the Senate is unlikely to consider it and President Obama has pledged to veto it.

Outside analyses have estimated that the employer mandate delay would have minimal effect on insurance coverage or prices, but most say that a delay in the individual mandate would result in an increase in prices. That's because the delay would discourage young and healthy people from signing up for coverage, while sicker people would still enroll, leading to higher costs to insurers.

But House members still pressed Iwry to state whether the Treasury Department could use the authority it used to delay the employer mandate to postpone the individual mandate. Iwry declined to answer directly.

"We have not considered that question," Iwry said. "There are certainly limits to the Treasury's authority."

Iwry also reiterated that the Obama administration intends to implement the employer mandate in 2015, despite speculation that the provision could be postponed indefinitely.

"There's every intention to have the implementation of these specific provisions go into effect at the beginning of 2015," he said.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.

More from Health & Human Services