Guest Post by Rob Magleby

Treasury Department officials announced Monday that medium-sized businesses — employers with 50 to 99 workers — will have until 2016 to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to insure full-time employees.

Large businesses, those with 100 or more employees, have received an alternative extension. Instead of receiving another year in which to offer health insurance coverage to 95 percent of their full-time workers, they must only offer coverage to 70 percent by 2015 and then reach the 95 percent threshold by 2016.

This announcement comes as a surprise, as the original mandate that required coverage by 2014, was already postponed  to 2015 last July. Those critical of the ACA have been quick to argue  that this is merely an attempt by the Obama Administration to quell disapproval before midterm elections this November, and that the repeated delays are another testament to the act’s illegitimacy.

Additionally, Republicans are using these delays to re-ignite  opposition to the health-care law, arguing that if businesses are continually getting delays of mandates, so too should individuals. This year, as originally required in the law,  individuals face a fine of $95 for failing to have health coverage. This fine will rise to $695 by 2016.  Monday’s announcement means that businesses have an additional two years from what was originally required in the health-care law before they face up to $2,000 fines per employee they fail to offer coverage.