The Obama administration announced Tuesday that a key provision of the Affordable Care Act — the employer mandate, which requires employers to provide health insurance coverage to their workers or face penalties — will be delayed until 2015, giving employers more time to comply with the requirement that some find to be too expensive.

"The administration has finally recognized the obvious — employers need more time and clarification of the rules of the road before implementing the employer mandate," Randy Johnson, a senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told

While many employers welcomed the change, saying it will give them more time to figure out how to comply, some proponents of the Affordable Care Act say that this delay could mean a serious step back for the health care reforms, which were set to be implemented by January 1, 2014. The Obama administration remains optimistic about the pace of implementation, with another crucial provision of the law — the health insurance marketplaces — set to launch October 1.

Sarah Rosenbaum, professor of health law and policy at George Washington University, sees the one-year delay as a major setback. "I am utterly astounded," she said. "It boggles the mind. This step could significantly reduce the number of uninsured people who will gain coverage in 2014."

But the Obama administration stands by its decision, insisting that it is only fair to businesses to push back the employer mandate provision so that they can get a better grasp of what the mandate entails and make sure that it is implemented effectively.

"We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively," Mark J. Mazur, an assistant Treasury secretary, wrote on the department's website. "We recognize that the vast majority of businesses that will need to do this reporting already provide health insurance to their workers, and we want to make sure it is easy for others to do so."

The Obama administration also says that despite the delay in employer mandated coverage, the state-based health insurance exchanges will have a profound impact, especially for those who are uninsured. States have until October 1 to enroll in the exchanges, and coverage is still set to take effect on January 1.

"We are on target to open the health insurance marketplace on Oct. 1 where small businesses and ordinary Americans will be able to go to one place to learn about their coverage options and make side-by-side comparisons of each plan's price and benefits before they make their decision," Valerie Jarrett wrote on The White House Blog.

The Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," has been a source of contention among Democrats and Republicans since its inception. Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who has very publicly opposed the new health care reforms, sees the announcement of the delay as the beginning of the end for Obamacare.

"Even the Obama administration knows the 'train wreck' will only get worse," he said.

Others have agreed that the Obama administration is struggling to make the health care reforms a reality, finding that it may have bitten off more than it can chew, saying that the NFL declining to help with the law's promotion is a sign that it may be losing support from the public.

"And in another sign of trouble the White House is trying to get the NFL on board to educate people in the upcoming fall about health-care exchanges, which they are hoping to encourage participation in if this whole thing is going to work," Jan Crawford of CBS News said. "But the NFL said over the weekend that it wants nothing to do with this political football."

In any event, even with all of the controversy surrounding the law, its proponents remain steadfast. John Dickerson, CBS News political director, implied today that the postponement of the employer mandate may have little to no affect on Obamacare's overall implementation.

"As a practical matter, more than 90 percent of the companies affected provide insurance to their employees anyway, and also as part of the president's plan the Medicaid provision and the other parts of the plan go forward, so as a practical matter that's the situation," said Dickerson.