Wed. 11:55am: Ohio officials welcome news of health care delay

COLUMBUS (AP) – Top Ohio Republicans today praised a move by President Barack Obama’s administration to delay a central requirement of his health care law, while supporters of the overhaul didn’t see the change as threatening the coverage of additional low-income workers.

Their comments come a day after the Obama administration unexpectedly announced a one-year delay in a requirement that medium and large companies provide coverage for their workers or face fines.

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who is also Ohio’s insurance director, welcomed the news in a statement, saying it could provide relief to businesses.

Taylor, who has been one of the state’s most outspoken critics of the law, added, “hopefully repealing the mandate altogether is the next step because it is so burdensome on job creators.”

Cathy Levine, who co-chairs a coalition of unions, consumer advocates and faith-based groups that back the law, defended the move. She said the administration was merely being responsive to employers who have asked for more time.

Under the health law, companies with 50 or more workers must provide affordable coverage to their full-time employees or risk a series of escalating tax penalties if just one worker ends up getting government-subsidized insurance. Originally, that requirement was supposed to take effect Jan. 1, 2014. It will now be delayed to 2015.