Businesses celebrated July Fourth two days early this year, not with fireworks but instead a health care reprieve from the Obama administration.

A decision by the president postpones until 2015 a provision of the Affordable Care Act that large- and medium-sized businesses offer workers health insurance coverage or pay penalties. Some business groups have told the administration they still are uncertain about implementation.

Obama in this particular case understands that change is difficult, especially when businesses sometimes go out of their way to avoid paying health insurance for their employees.

They’ve often relied on working employees just under 40 hours a week to avoid paying health insurance costs.

So there is plenty of blame to share — businesses that for years skirted the benefits issue for their employees and the Obama administration for pushing too soon and too fast an unwieldy health insurance mandate.

The president showed his flexibility with the reprieve.

Now it’s time for the business sector to meet its new deadline.

— The Hutchinson (Kan.) News July 5

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