Republicans Strategize To Roll Back Or Delay Employer Mandate

Kerry Picket | Reporter

WASHINGTON — House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady told reporters Republicans are crafting ways to either repeal or at least delay Obamacare’s employer mandate to offer health insurance Tuesday.

Brady says he talked about the issue with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and other members of the Ways and Means Committee.

“We’ve discussed that with him as well as committee members, so yeah, there is that discussion, and I’d like to see us make progress there,” Brady said.

“I think the effort to look back two, three years, because it really was suspended in a sense with the past administration we want to make sure our businesses aren’t caught up in some type of fines or punitive measures for the past three years as well. So there is very strong interest in trying to find a solution.”

He added, “I think the goal would be to delay or repeal it in total, but retroactive as well.”

The mandate, which imposes a fine on any businesses with 50 or more full time employees that do not provide health coverage for their staff, would be retroactive to prevent employers for being penalized for not giving coverage back to 2015, when the mandate took effect.

Both the administration and Republicans have long prepared to roll back the employer mandate for months. Alabama Republican Rep. Gary Palmer told The Daily Caller back in December that some companies will cap their full-time employees just below the 50-person mark and not allow staffers to work more than 30 hours just to avoid the mandate penalty in Obamacare.

“We call those companies 49ers. They wouldn’t get to 50. And then, we had a lot of companies that had employees who were 29ers. They were not allowed 30th hour to become eligible for benefits,” Palmer said. “What we’ve wound up with is a situation where small business quit hiring or they quit expanding and you had people who previously had full-time jobs making a decent wage with some benefits that’s having to work two-part time jobs just to get 40 hours a week with no benefits.”

One House GOP source told TheDC Republicans may push the employer mandate issue through in the 2019 budget reconciliation process.

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