The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday approved legislation that would chip away at ObamaCare, including a measure that would temporarily repeal the law’s employer mandate.
The bill sponsored by GOP Reps. Devin Nunes (Calif.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) would suspend penalties for the employer mandate for 2015 through 2019 and delay implementation of the tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans for another year, pushing it back to 2022.
Congress repealed the penalty associated with the individual mandate last year, but it doesn’t take effect until 2019.
“I think it’s fair, if we relieve the burden for individuals, that we stand with our small and mid-sized companies,” Kelly said.
Powerful lobbying groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have pushed for a repeal of the employer mandate.
The other measure, sponsored by Reps. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Michael Burgess (R-Texas), would allow the use of ObamaCare’s tax credits for plans outside of the exchanges in the individual market. It would also allow anyone to purchase a catastrophic plan — plans that are cheaper but cover fewer services and are currently only available for those under the age of 30.
The bill “provides a much needed offramp for pressure people are feeling right no in terms of premiums increases and limited choices,” Roskam said.
Both measures advanced on party-line votes.
Democrats opposed the bills, saying they would cost too much and destabilize ObamaCare.