WASHINGTON DC – Tuesday night, Congress passed two bills that purport to shield Americans from costly effects of the Affordable Care Act by limiting the reach of the law’s employer mandate: H.R. 3474, the Hire More Heroes Act of 2013 and H.R. 3979, the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act. Both bills passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Six Illinois congessional members were listed as sponsors/co-sponsors of H.R. 3474 - Rep. Rodney Davis (13), Randy Hultgren (14), Adam Kinzinger (16) Dan Lipinski (3), Peter Roskam (6) and Aaron Schock (16). The bill passed the House overwhelmingly, with only one vote in opposition.
Congressman Hultgren said the bills should help buffer the effects of Obamacare. However, the bills have to go through the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate and to the President's desk before they can be implemented.
“The detrimental effects of the Affordable Care Act are obvious. At a time when our economy is already faltering, the employer mandate discourages businesses to hire. Above all, the men and women that serve our country and our community—volunteer firefighters, Emergency Medical Technicians, ambulance squads and our troops—should not have to face diminishing job prospects as a result of the President’s health care law,” said Rep. Hultgren. “I am proud of the House’s bipartisan effort to ensure our heroes at home and abroad can find work, and I commend my colleague Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13) for his work on the Hire More Heroes Act.”
The Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate requires all businesses with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance to their employees or pay a fee. H.R. 3474 allows employers to exempt veterans who already receive health coverage under TRICARE or the Veterans Administration from being taken into account for purposes of the employer mandate, allowing small businesses to hire veterans without facing penalties. H.R. 3979 exempts volunteer firefighters and emergency rescue personnel from being counted as full-time employees for purposes of the employer mandate, shielding fire departments from crippling new health care costs, which would cause many to close their doors.