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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 NunesJuan Williams: Trump, the Great Destroyer The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — Latest on Hurricane Michael | Trump, Kanye West to have lunch at White House | GOP divided over potential 2020 high court vacancy Senate Dem: Trump's 'fake, hyperbolic rantings' an insult to real Medal of Honor recipients MORE (Calif.) and Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyThe Memo: Rust Belt race hinges on Trump How the Trump tax law passed: The final stretch How the Trump tax law passed: Breaking the gridlock  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Congress repealed the penalty associated with the individual mandate last year, but it doesn't take effect until 2019.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 RoskamDems target small cluster of states in battle for House Kavanaugh becomes new flashpoint in midterms defined by anger Election Countdown: Big fundraising numbers in fight for Senate | Haley resigns in surprise move | Says she will back Trump in 2020 | Sanders hitting midterm trail | Collins becomes top Dem target | Takeaways from Indiana Senate debate MORE (R-Ill.) and Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessCards Against Humanity offering midterm expansion pack in effort to back Dems in key races Overnight Health Care: Bill banning 'gag clauses' on drugs heads to Trump's desk | Romney opposes Utah Medicaid expansion | GOP candidate under fire over ad on pre-existing conditions Twitter’s Dorsey apologizes to McCain family for ‘unacceptable’ tweet 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.