Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind. (Messer's office)

A member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee is trying to free schools and other educational institutions from having to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) employer mandate.

Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., has introduced H.R. 4775, the “Safeguarding Classrooms Hurt by Obamacare’s Obligatory Levies” (SCHOOL) Act bill. PPACA is set to require some employers to provide health coverage for many year-round, full-time workers starting in 2015 or else pay a penalty. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) intends to apply the mandate to more employers in 2016.

Messer says his bill would stop a harmful Obamacare tax on school districts. The bill would create an exemption for institutions of higher education and state and local educational agencies as well as K-12 schools.

See our health policy video watch list: PPACA World TV.

Mark Benigni, a Meriden, Conn., school district superintendent, estimated at a congressional hearing in November that the mandate could increase the district’s benefits costs by $4.6 million and force the district to reduce the number of teachers it employs.

Another witness at the hearing, Maria Maisto, the president of New Faculty Majority, a group that represents adjunct college and university faculty members, testified that universities have chosen to treat adjuncts poorly for years and are now trying to circumvent PPACA requirements in increasingly destructive ways.

PPACA programs could at least give adjuncts some access to affordable health benefits, Maisto said.

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