The White House's decision to delay the mandate in ObamaCare that requires larger employers to offer health coverage will cost the government $10 billion in fines that will never be collected, a new report says.
The Congressional Budget Office found in an analysis released Tuesday the government will collect 10 billion less in penalty payments that would have been collected in 2015 as a result of the mandate.
The CBO also said cost of expanding coverage for the uninsured will rise to $1.375 billion from 2014-2023, an increase of less than 1 percent from its previous estimate in May, due to the mandate delay and other changes to the law.
The White House announced earlier this month that it would delay a requirement for employers with 50 or more workers to offer affordable coverage, or face fines. Instead of going into effect next year, the provision was put off to 2015. A major concession to business groups, the delay took administration allies and adversaries by surprise.
Opponents of the health care law saw the delay as a sign that the implementation of the measure had run into serious problems, and some labor unions denounced it as a handout to big business. But employers welcomed the unexpected respite from complicated reporting rules that the administration concedes will require more time to work out. The White House says the rest of the law's provisions will roll out without delay.
Uninsured people without access to coverage at work will be able to start shopping for a health plan Oct. 1. Middle-class people will be able to pick from a range of private insurance plans, with new federal tax credits to help pay their premiums. Low-income people will be steered to an expanded version of Medicaid, in states that accept it. Coverage takes effect Jan. 1.
At the same time, most Americans will face an individual requirement to carry health insurance or pay fines, known an the individual mandate.
The House voted to delay both the law's employer and the individual mandate earlier this month.
All told, about 13 million of nearly 50 million uninsured U.S. residents are expected to gain coverage in 2014, according to the latest CBO estimates. That number is expected to gradually increase to between 25 million and 30 million people.
The budget office said fewer than half million people will have to forgo coverage as a consequence of the delay in the so-called employer mandate. The delay "will have only a negligible effect on sources of insurance coverage," the report said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report