House panel advances bill that would temporarily halt ObamaCare's employer mandate

House panel advances bill that would temporarily halt ObamaCare's employer mandate
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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 NunesDevin Gerald NunesThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers scramble as shutdown deadline nears ‘Fox & Friends’ host asks if McCabe opening FBI probe into Trump was attempt to ‘overthrow government’ Nunes says GOP lawmakers looking through Russia transcripts, will make DOJ referrals MORE (Calif.) and Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyCongress needs to unite and pass this key infrastructure legislation Dems build case for obtaining Trump's tax returns House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 MORE (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.

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Congress repealed the penalty associated with the individual mandate last year, but it doesn't take effect until 2019.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 Peter James RoskamIllinois New Members 2019 Defeated Republicans mocked by Trump fire back at president House GOP returns to Washington after sobering midterm losses MORE (R-Ill.) and Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessHouse Dems to mull bills to overturn Trump ObamaCare actions Overnight Health Care: House set to vote on bill targeting drug companies for overcharging Medicaid | Dems press Trump officials on pre-existing conditions | Tobacco giant invests .8B in Canadian marijuana grower GOP struggles to find right Republican for Rules MORE (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.