Senate Dem introduces bill to delay employer healthcare mandate

“This package will give families and small businesses more options to choose from when picking a health plan, provide much needed tax credits to more small-business owners, reduce taxes for business expenses, and delay the employer responsibility reporting requirements and penalties to give businesses time to learn about the new law,” Begich said.

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Earlier this month, President Obama announced that he would delay until 2015 an employer mandate requiring all businesses with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance for their employees or face stiff penalties. Begich’s bill would increase Obama’s delay an additional year.

This week, the House voted to delay the employer mandate for one year — the same move Obama announced — because lawmakers argued the president didn’t have the right to pick and chose which parts of the law to follow. The House also passed a bill that would delay the individual health insurance mandate, requiring every citizen to be insured or pay a tax. Republicans argued it wasn't fair to give businesses a break and not individuals.

Begich said he had been pushing for changes to ObamaCare for months, and that his proposal would not “dismantle” the law, but improve it.

“As a small-business owner, I know that Alaska small businesses need less bureaucracy and fewer complicated rules — not more,” Begich said. “I want our small-business owners to spend their time focused on what they do best — creating jobs and supporting our local communities. That is why I have introduced my Small Business Relief Plan to help remove obstacles for our small businesses and simplify purchasing health insurance."

The bill would also give some small businesses access to the Federal Employee Health Benefits program and expand eligibility for health insurance tax credits, among other things.