House Health Care Reform Hits Small Business with Costly Coverage Mandates
House Proposed Health Care Bill Hits Small Business with Costly Coverage Mandates
Among the provisions of the 1,018-page healthcare bill introduced by House Democrats are mandates for small businesses grossing over $400,000 to provide employees with coverage or pay an 8% penalty.Businesses grossing between $250,000 and $400,000 would pay less and those under $250,000 would be exempt from providing coverage.The bill also includes a public health insurance provision for individuals and small businesses that otherwise cannot afford coverage.The cost of the new program was estimated at $1.04 trillion over 10 years and like most government estimates that amount is probably on the low end.The Ways and Means Committee is expected to begin marking-up the bill in the House on Thursday.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved a bill on a party line vote (13-10) that would also establish a government-run health insurance plan and require employers to provide coverage or face penalties.Firms with 25 or more employees that don’t offer coverage would face fees of $375 per part-time worker and $750 per full-time worker for not providing coverage.While this bill passed through the committee another Senate Committee will have to figure out how to pay for it.
The Senate Finance Committee is also expected to unveil its own proposal.Chairman Max Baucus is working with Senator Grassley to produce a bipartisan compromise, which is likely to take the lead among competing bills in the Senate.If it passes, the House and Senate will have to reconcile the differences between their bills and that could be a challenge since they are likely to be far apart on issues like coverage requirements, mandates, and the usual pork that finds its way into legislation as way to gain support for passage.
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