Under pressure from business groups and fearing losses in the 2014 Congressional elections, the Obama Administration today delayed the upcoming implemention of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate that businesses with 50 or more employees provide health care or pay a fine, the Associated Press and other sources are reporting.

The mandate, dubbed Employer Shared Responsibility, set a fine of $2,000 per employee above 30 on the payroll if no health care is provided beginning Jan. 1, 2014, at companies with 50 or more employees. Today's action moves the date back to 2015 at the earliest.

“We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively,” Mark J. Mazur, assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy, wrote in a post that was published;on the department’s website late Tuesday.

"The Administration is announcing that it will provide an additional year before the ACA mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements begin.  This is designed to meet two goals.  First, it will allow us to consider ways to simplify the new reporting requirements consistent with the law.  Second, it will provide time to adapt health coverage and reporting systems while employers are moving toward making health coverage affordable and accessible for their employees. Within the next week, we will publish formal guidance describing this transition."

Republicans were quick to pounce on the move as proof that what they've been saying all along is correct — that the ACA is bad policy.

"A delay — conveniently past the 2014 election — only adds to the uncertainty these job creators face because of Obamacare," said Senator Orrin Hatch, top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. "The only reasonable recourse is to fully repeal this law."