(CBS News) -- The delay of a key provision in President Obama's
health-care law is being called a major setback for the president's
The controversial provision that
requires companies with more than 50 employees to provide coverage or
face fines is being delayed by a year. The rule is now on hold until
2015 - after the 2014 midterm elections.
The news came while the president was flying back from Africa
to Washington. It's a major concession in what is considered the
president's signature achievement.
Posted with no fanfare
on the White House website, the administration pushed back by one year
the requirement that businesses with more than 50 workers provide
health-care coverage or pay fines of $2,000 per employee.
The website announcement said, "We have listened to your feedback. And we are taking action."
decision marks a shift in the official line on health care, which the
president himself stated recently. He said in San Jose, Calif., on June
7, "I think it's important to acknowledge this is working the way it's
The concerns that the health-care law was
going to hurt workers and the economy were widespread. Some small
business owners said they would lay off workers so they had less than
the 50 employees that brought them under the new law.
Even business owners who support health-care reform were sounding the alarm.
Earlier this year, CBS News talked to one of those small business owners,
Hans Rockenwagner, who runs a bakery in California. Rockenwagner said
then, "We want to do the right thing. It just seems that the whole plan
was maybe a little hastily put together."
year's midterm elections looming, that kind of feedback troubled leading
Democrats like Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, who staked a lot of
political capital on the law. He said, "I just see a huge train wreck
On Tuesday night, Republicans who remain
staunchly opposed to the law, which passed without a single GOP vote,
said the announcement was vindication. House Speaker John Boehner,
R-Ohio, said, "Even the Obama administration knows the 'train wreck'
will only get worse."
CBS News' Jan Crawford added on
"CBS This Morning," "And in another sign of trouble the White House is
trying to get the NFL on board to educate people in the upcoming fall
about health-care exchanges, which they are hoping to encourage
participation in if this whole thing is going to work. But the NFL said
over the weekend that it wants nothing to do with this political
For more analysis on the provision postponement, "CTM" turned to CBS
News political director John Dickerson. He said, "As a practical matter,
more than 90 percent of the companies affected provide insurance to
their employees anyway, and also as part of the president's plan the
Medicaid provision and the other parts of the plan go forward, so as a
practical matter that's the situation.
"As a political matter, this is not good," he said. "It sort of
contributes to the feeling that the Affordable Care Act is a jalopy
they're trying to roll out of the driveway here at barely operational
for the president. That's not good. The White House made the decision,
though, take the pain now, before the July Fourth weekend, rather than
have all of these stories over the next year of companies who were
laying off workers or having such a hard time implementing this."