President Barack Obama's administration said Tuesday that there will be a one-year waiver on penalties for employers who do not provide health-insurance coverage to workers.
Penalties on individuals who do not purchase insurance would still apply, the administration said.
Businesses and individual workers have been sharply critical of the Obamacare provision, which would fine a business $2,000 for each full-time employee who does not get health coverage through the company.
The requirement would apply to businesses with 50 or more employees who worked 30 hours a week or more. It was set to begin on Jan. 1.
Many companies said the requirement would cripple their profits. Workers complained that their hours were being cut this year so the company would be below the threshold for the requirement.
Sen. Mike Johanns hailed the one-year delay for businesses.
“This news is further evidence that the new government mandates imposed by the health care law are too costly and too burdensome," Johanns said. "Now that businesses and many unions have received waivers, all Americans should also be exempt from the individual mandate tax."
Johanns said it’s time for the administration to wave the white flag, begin working to unwind this tenuous law and replace it "with something that will actually lower insurance costs for hardworking families.”