This one is huge. And nakedly, egregiously political.
Companies with 50 to 99 employees will not be forced to offer health insurance to their full time workers until the beginning of 2016, the Treasury Department announced this afternoon, ensuring that businesses will not be struggling to meet the onerous new requirement during the 2014 election.
Larger employers also get a break. They now only have to offer insurance to 70 percent of their full time employees in 2015 and then 95 percent in 2016.
But the mid-size firms are the ones that concern Democrats the most, since they might have moved to decrease their full time workforce to below the 50 employee threshold to avoid penalties.
Previously, following an extension last summer which took the start date from 2014 to 2015, companies would have been racing to afford the new requirement by trimming their payrolls, moving people to part time, and reducing benefits and pay during the final quarter of 2014, when control of the House and Senate will hang in the balance.
Now the issue will go away until the off-year of 2015, partially depriving Republicans of one of their most potent election-year weapons.
The White House made the move after it only last week sought to claim that the new rules would not affect how businesses treat their employees.