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Obamacare's Small Business Exchanges Get Watered Down

President Obama boarding Air Force One
President Obama boarding Air Force OnePhotograph by Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

If the Obama administration wants to convince skeptical small business owners that health-care reform will improve the existing system, this news won’t help: A key part of the law that would let small employers offer workers a menu of health plans through state health exchanges is being delayed by a year, the New York Times reports. For 2014, small businesses shopping for policies in many states will be limited to choosing a single health plan to offer their workers.

Count this as a political victory for states that wanted to thwart Obamacare by not building their own exchanges. The Affordable Care Act envisioned each state setting up a marketplace in which  individuals and small businesses could shop for health insurance, starting in 2014. But 26 states, most in Republican control, left it up to the federal government to build their exchanges. Companies with fewer than 50 employees in those states will have to wait an additional year, until 2015, for the exchanges to give employers the flexibility they’re supposed to.