Yesterday, an obscure official in the Treasury Department announced a one-year delay in the Shared Employer Responsibility provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which set forth a penalty schedule for businesses with 50 or more employees that did not offer health insurance beginning Jan. 1, 2014 (now 2015).

Shortly thereafter, Valerie Jarrett, White House senior advisor, announced some steps the administration hoped to take in implementing the employer insurance mandate on Jan. 1, 2015:

First, we are cutting red tape and simplifying the reporting process. We have heard the concern that the reporting called for under the law about each worker’s access to and enrollment in health insurance requires new data collection systems and coordination. So we plan to re-vamp and simplify the reporting process. Some of this detailed reporting may be unnecessary for businesses that more than meet the minimum standards in the law. We will convene employers, insurers, and experts to propose a smarter system and, in the interim, suspend reporting for 2014.

Second, we are giving businesses more time to comply. As we make these changes, we believe we need to give employers more time to comply with the new rules. Since employer responsibility payments can only be assessed based on this new reporting, payments won’t be collected for 2014. This allows employers the time to test the new reporting systems and make any necessary adaptations to their health benefits while staying the course toward making health coverage more affordable and accessible for their workers.

On the reporting front, Jarrett listed the reduction of the 21-page ACA health insurance application to three pages as an example of ongoing simplification efforts.

Meanwhile, she concluded, we "are full steam ahead for the Marketplaces opening on October 1."