4. Large-Employer-Mandate Delay: In July 2013, the administration announced it was delaying by a year the rule that that large employers must provide full-time workers with insurance.
Result: This delay makes life easier for large companies, the administration, and the IRS. Oh—and it will cost the government somewhere around $11 billion in lost penalty revenue. But the reality is that vast majority of large employers—those with more than 50 full-time staffers—are already providing health insurance coverage to their employees. The real employer-insurance gap is among small businesses.
5. Small-Business-Site Delay: Right before Healthcare.gov went live, the administration announced that online enrollment through the federal site for small businesses to shop for insurance would be delayed for a month. At the end of October, health officials announced the delay would be extended until late November.
Result: Small-business owners who were uninsured or individually insured have been significantly delayed in their ability to set up a group plan for their employees that starts January 1. The same goes for the employees, who might otherwise have been expecting coverage through employers rather than having to go into the individual market themselves.
6. Back-End System Build-out Delay: The mechanism for transferring subsidies from the federal government to insurers through Healthcare.gov has yet to come online. It was revealed during a House hearing last week that 30-40 percent of this "back-office" system has yet to be built.
Result: Given that the public didn't even know about this until mid-November, it is unclear what the impact will be. Since there is one more part of the Healthcare.gov apparatus that remains to be built, there is one more opportunity for something to go awry with a critical part of the government-run website. If there's a silver lining for the administration, it's that the victim of any flaw will be insurers who are getting stiffed, not consumers.
7. Spanish-Language-Site Delay: The administration said in late September that the Spanish-language version of Healthcare.gov would be delayed until mid-October. In late October it announced an indefinite delay in building enrollment functionality into the site.
Result: People who prefer to use Spanish for complex tasks such as signing up for health insurance have to find ACA navigators or call the 800 number instead. The site CuidadodeSalud.gov is live but not capable of processing enrollments.
8. Healthcare.gov Functionality Delay: Last, and assuredly not least, there has been a two-month delay in the functional launch of the federally-run website for enrolling people in insurance plans in 36 states. This delay was announced on October 25, weeks after the website went live.
Result: President Obama's poll numbers have cratered, most consumers who have tried the site have had negative experiences with it, early enrollment through the site has been low, and major questions have been raised about the U.S. government's capacity to manage any major new project.