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The Congressional Budget Office estimated in May that the government would reap $140 billion in penalties from employers over the next decade.

Pressed on the issue Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration is trying to be flexible in its implementation of the law. He also downplayed the delay’s real-world impact.

“The fact is that 96 percent of employers, roughly, already provide insurance, and numerous experts agree on this matter that the decision to postpone implementation of this provision of the Affordable Care Act will have no significant impact on implementation overall.”