While the nation is focused on the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies are constitutional, Tom Woods, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), is focused on tweaking another aspect of the law.

“NAHB has worked diligently with members of Congress to address an unintended consequence in the Affordable Care Act that is preventing small businesses from helping to provide health care for their employees,” he says. “The bipartisan Small Business Healthcare Relief Act introduced today in the House by Reps. Charles Boustany (R-La.) and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), and in the Senate by Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), will achieve this aim.”

According to Woods, the legislation would enable small businesses to continue to use Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), which allow employers to provide pre-tax dollars to employees to pay for medical care and services.

“This is particularly important for small businesses with less than 50 employees,” he says. “These employers, who are unable to administer or offer a health plan due to prohibitive costs, would still be able to make health insurance more affordable for their workers by reimbursing them for some or all of their medical expenses for an individual market health insurance policy.”

Despite its bipartisan support, the bill still has to make it to—and past—President Obama.

“We urge Congress to move swiftly to pass this vital legislation so that more employers can help their workers defray the high cost of medical premiums or out-of-pocket expenses,” Woods says. “We also urge the government not to penalize employers who offer HRAs while these bills move through the legislative process.”

 

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