Though much has been said (and written), questions remain about the Obama administration’s decision this summer to delay the employer mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

One thing that’s crystal-clear, at least to the Congressional Budget Office, is that the price tag of health reform jumped by $12 billion, thanks to the delay. About $10 billion of that reflects a reduction in the penalties that the government would have collected from employers who failed to comply with the requirement to provide health insurance.

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