A U.S. senator has introduced legislation that would postpone enforcement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act employer coverage mandate for two years.
Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, also has introduced a flurry of other proposals including a bill that would expand access to the PPACA small employer health insurance tax credit and a measure that would let small-business employers in states without much small-group competition sign up for Federal Employee Health Benefits Program coverage.
Yet another Begich bill would restore the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan program startup loan funding that Congress cut in December.
CO-OP organizers are supposed to try to increase the level of competition in the health insurance market by creating a new type of nonprofit, member-owned health plan.
The text of the bills was not immediately available.
Begich said the employer mandate delay bill would postpone the PPACA employer responsibility provisions by two years and delay enforcement of PPACA employer penalties until 2016.
The lawmaker's health insurance tax credit bill would raise the maximum average salary at which employers can qualify for the credit to $75,000, from $50,000 today. The bill also would expand the maximum size of an eligible employer to 50, from 25, and the maximum size of an employer eligible for the biggest possible tax credit to 20 full-time employees, from 10.
Also, the legislation would let business owners and their relatives to benefit directly from the small business health insurance tax credits.
Begich, who has owned or co-owned a resort in Nevada, a vending machine business and a property rental business, said in a statement that he supports PPACA but wants to improve its approach to helping small businesses provide group health coverage.
"As a small business owner, I know that Alaska small business owners need less bureaucracy and fewer complicated rules, not more," Begich said.
His other PPACA-related bill would open the federal employees' benefits program to small businesses in states in which the PPACA Small Business Health Options Program small-group exchange offered coverage either from one carrier or from no carriers.
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