Posted by Ann Montague, July 12, 2013
The Treasury Department announced that the Employer Mandate in the Accountable Care Act (ACA) is being delayed (at least) until 2015. They stated that businesses were "confused about reporting requirements". Boo Hoo! So the Obama Administration, always concerned about their friends in the business community just said "never mind, don't worry about it until after the 2014 elections". In Oregon we heard this same crying from employers and the Employer Mandate disappeared from the legislation creating the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) in the 1990's which was to become expanded Medicaid that would eventually cover everyone in the state. Dropping the Employer Mandate was a killer. It meant that OHP did not expand Medicaid as envisioned and actually restricted the number of people on the plan. At this time, even if an individual has no income and no resources (in the past making them eligible for Medicaid) then they go into a literal "Lottery" system where the State just pulls a certain number every month. Oregonians can be in the lottery for years. The elimination of the Employer Mandate however did not stop those of us working for the OHP from getting calls from low wage part time workers. I remember getting calls from new employees of Burger King who said they were given our number and told we were their health insurance. This way businesses like Burger King were hiring workers and telling them that they will have health coverage. What a deal!