This week, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) cosponsored S. 399, the American Job Protection Act, legislation to repeal the employer mandate provision included in the President's $2.6 trillion health law. The provision requires businesses of 50 employees or more to provide a prescribed level of health insurance or pay a penalty between $2,000 and $3,000 for each employee working 30 hours or more a week. Companion, bipartisan legislation, H.R. 763, has also been introduced in the House.
"The Affordable Care Act's employer mandate forces job creators to provide a one-size-fits-all amount of health coverage -- at the expense of higher wages and other benefits -- or pay a penalty to the federal government," Sen. Moran said. "This policy will lead to layoffs, reduced working hours, and dropped health coverage for employees. Increasing regulations and compliance costs for businesses are no way to promote job growth and expansion, and Congress should repeal this damaging mandate."
The American Job Protection Act would repeal the provisions in the ACA that require employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent (FTE) employees to provide health insurance for their employees in 2014 or face a tax increase that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found would hit employers with $150 billion in new taxes over eleven years. This mandate is expected to lead to an estimated 3.2 million lost jobs, according to the nonpartisan Hudson Institute.
"Increasing costs, regulations and complexity are causing consolidations in many industries," Tim Witsman, Wichita Independent Business Association President, said. "Whether intended or not, the result of the ACA mandate on companies with more than 50 employees has been that more small companies are giving up and selling out to larger companies."
While the employer mandate does not go into effect until 2014, the requirement has already pushed many employers to keep their staffs below 50 or hire part-time workers to avoid the mandate. According to a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 72 percent of small business owners said that the health care law would make it harder for them to hire. The small business owners also reported that, in addition to limiting hiring, the new law might force them to reduce the size of their business. For example, respondents reported considering making workers stay less than 30 hours a week or replacing them with temporary or part-time workers. A significant number reported the likelihood of canceling insurance coverage for employees, as paying the penalty would be less expensive for their company.
The bicameral measure has garnered strong support from within the business community and has been endorsed by the following organizations:
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
National Federation of Independent Business
National Association of Manufacturers
National Retail Federation
National Restaurant Association
National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors
International Franchise Association
National Roofing Contractors Association
Retail Industry Leaders Association
Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council
American Council of Engineering Companies
American Hotel & Lodging Association
American Supply Association
American Wholesale Marketers Association
Associated Builders and Contractors
Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association
International Housewares Association
National Club Association
National Council of Chain Restaurants
National Tooling and Machining Association
National Utility Contractors Association
Petroleum Marketers Association of America
Precision Machined Products Association
Precision Metalforming Association
Printing Industries of America
Professional Golfers Association of America
Turfgrass Producers International and Americans for Tax Reform.