U.S. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) today offered two amendments to the Senate’s legislation to extend certain expiring tax provisions, commonly referred to as tax extenders legislation (H.R. 3474), that would provide relief from the ObamaCare employer mandate for the long-term unemployed and the individual mandate tax penalty.
1) ObamaCare Employer Mandate Exemption: Thune’s first amendment (S.Amdt. 3057) would exempt long-term unemployed individuals from ObamaCare’s mandate for certain businesses to provide health insurance or pay a fine for each uninsured employee. The amendment would remove a barrier for employers to consider hiring a full-time employee who has been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer. Thune’s amendment provides an incentive to keep the employee on staff permanently by exempting the employee from the ObamaCare full-time employee count for as long as that worker is employed by that business. Under ObamaCare, businesses with 50 or more full-time employees must provide government-approved health insurance for their employees or pay a fine of up to $3,000 per employee per year.
“The last thing we should be doing in the already stagnant Obama economy is making it harder and more expensive for businesses to hire the long-term unemployed,” said Thune. “Yet that is precisely what the employer mandate will do to businesses weighing costs in a tough economy. Congress should repeal this onerous provision and work to enact policies that will help create good-paying jobs.”
2) ObamaCare Individual Mandate Tax Collection Prohibition: Thune’s second amendment (S.Amdt. 3058) would permanently prohibit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from collecting tax penalties from individuals who choose not to purchase government-approved health care under ObamaCare. The 2012 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court deemed the individual mandate penalty a tax, which is collected by the IRS. The individual mandate tax starts in 2014 and will increase to $695/person or 2.5 percent of the individual’s income, whichever is greater, in 2016.
“Despite Democrats’ repeated promises to the American people that they could keep the health care plan they liked and had, families throughout the country have been forced to abandon their current coverage for more expensive government-approved health care plans,” said Thune. “Rather than trying to slap a one-size-fits-all prescription on the American people, we should be doing everything we can to make health care more accessible and less expensive. My amendment would prevent the IRS from collecting this onerous tax and allow lawmakers to come to the table to discuss how to actually lower costs and improve access to health care.”