Dire jobs numbers spark renewed push for repeal of employer mandate

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Barrow said the mandate has two perverse incentives: It encourages small businesses not to grow beyond the 50-employee threshold when the mandate kicks in, and the penalty — $2,000 per year per employee — is lower than the cost of providing the generous healthcare coverage mandated under the law. 

Still, the mandate is a centerpiece of the healthcare reform law and is unlikely to go anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) acknowledged that the legislation isnt paid for and would add to the deficit. But he said the onerous nature of the mandate in terms of disruption to businesses outweighs its impact on the governments bottom line.

We can solve the deficit issue doing other, bigger things, Boustany told The Hill. None of this is in place yet so nows the time to repeal it.

Boustany also said that House Republicans have yet to decide whether to advance the bill as a stand-alone measure or as part of a broader jobs package.

We wanted to get the bill out there as a marker, he said, probably [as] part of a bigger package.