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Alexander, Hatch File Bill to Repeal Employer Mandate

Press release from the US. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; January 29, 2015:

WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) introduced the American Job Protection Act, S. 305, a bill to repeal Obamacare’s job-killing employer mandate.  Under the President’s health law, businesses with 50 or more equivalent employees are required to offer health insurance of minimum value or pay a penalty between $2,000 and $3,000 for each employee working 30 hours or more a week.  The Chairmen were joined by 26 senators in cosponsoring the bill.

“Obamacare’s burdensome employer mandate continues to hinder job-creation and growth, and the best action Washington can take is to repeal it entirely,” said Hatch.  “By doing away with the mandate, job-creators will be able to grow their businesses without the added concern of reaching an arbitrary and punitive threshold.  Repealing this job-killing mandate will put American small businesses back in a position to hire again. That means more jobs for the American people and more growth for the American economy.”

“The havoc Obamacare’s misguided employer mandate is wreaking in American workplaces was every bit as predictable as it was preventable, as Republicans warned over and over that an employer mandate would do exactly what it’s doing: businesses that employ many of our lowest-income workers are cutting jobs and many other businesses are reducing the number of hours their employees work to avoid the mandate’s high cost,” said Alexander. Until we have a Republican president and can repeal Obamacare, the responsible thing to do is repeal the employer mandate—one of several steps we can take to repair the damage Obamacare has done.”

Joining the Chairmen in cosponsoring the bill were Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.),Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Deb Fischer(R-Neb.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.),Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), David Vitter(R-La.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

The employer mandate went into effect in 2014.  Employers are subsequently experiencing the full negative effects of the mandate and are basing decisions about their businesses going forward around the mandate’s impacts.   A recent Gallup survey of small employers found that 11 times as many small business owners believe that the PPACA will increase their health care costs as opposed to those who believe that it will reduce costs.  Overall, approximately half of small business owners believe that the PPACA will be bad for business, compared to only 9 percent who expect it to have a beneficial impact. These expectations are forcing action: employers are holding back on hiring new employees or have slowed plans to grow their business.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Outlook Survey released in April 2013 found that the requirements of the health care law are now the biggest concern for small businesses. Of small business respondents, 77 percent say the health care law will make coverage for their employees more expensive, and 71 percent say the law makes it harder for them to hire more employees. As a result of the employer mandate, one-third of small businesses plan to reduce hiring, and will cut back hours to reduce the number of full-time employees.

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Alexander Introduces Legislation to Repeal Individual Mandate

Press release from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; January 21, 2015:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 – Today, Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), along with 20 other senators, introduced the American Liberty Restoration Act, S. 203, a bill that repeals Obamacare’s individual insurance mandate.

“Forcing Americans to purchase insurance goes against our nation’s history of individual liberty. This legislation strikes Obamacare’s individual mandate and restores the freedoms outlined in the Constitution.  Washington should continue to work towards finding a way to equip patients with the tools needed to obtain access to health insurance, but not in a way that attacks the spirit of the Constitution and our treasured history of limited government,” said Hatch.

“How can we continue to enforce the individual mandate when the law doesn’t clearly ensure that millions of Americans are allowed to receive subsidies to help cover the cost? How can we enforce it when Obamacare outlaws plans that fit family budgets?  Millions more Americans are in for sticker shock when they see how much they owe the IRS in April because of Obamacare. We need to focus on making health care plans affordable to Americans,” said Alexander.

The American Liberty Restoration Act would strike provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requiring individuals to purchase health insurance.  The individual insurance mandate in PPACA went into effect in 2014.

For the 2014 tax filing season, individuals who did not purchase health insurance will face a fine of $95 or 1% of their income, whichever is more.  For the 2015 tax filing season, that penalty will increase to $325 or 2% of their income, whichever is more.

Cosponsors of the bill include: Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)

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