Administration Delays ACA Provision Barring Discriminatory Policies For Highly Compensated
The New York Times (1/19, Pear, Subscription Publication)
reported that "the Obama Administration is delaying enforcement of another provision" of the
Affordable Care Act, "one that prohibits employers from providing better health benefits to
top executives than to other employees." The delay was attributed to the Internal Revenue
Service's struggle with writing regulations to cover the provision. The difficulties include
defining who is highly compensated, what health benefits are worth, and what is discriminatory.
The provision will wait until the IRS issues regulations "or other guidance." The Times calls
the delay "another in a series of deadline extensions, transition rules, policy shifts and
other steps by the Obama Administration" and one that "is sure to be invoked by both Democrats
and Republicans running for office this fall."
The Daily Caller (1/20, Hurtubise) noted that the ACA "originally
required the IRS to enforce the health benefit 'discrimination' ban just six months after the
law was passed in March 2010," but it was "announced in 2010 that officials needed more time to write the rules."
IRS Denies New Delay. However, Fox Business (1/21, Rogers)
reports that the IRS "is denying claims" of this delay. IRS spokesperson Michelle Eldridge
said in an email to Fox Business, "The IRS has not announced any new or additional information on this
issue. The New York Times story refers to IRS Notice 2011-1, which was released to the press on
December 22, 2010. That Notice stated that the sanctions under Public Health Service Act Section 2716
will not apply until after generally applicable guidance is issued, because the statute requires
regulatory detail in order to operate properly. Work on that guidance continues, taking into
consideration comments received from the public. Any suggestion that there is a new delay is misleading."
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