February 28, 2014, 11:55 am
House to vote on $0 ObamaCare penalty
By Pete Kasperowicz
The House next week will consider legislation that would eliminate the individual mandate penalty under ObamaCare for the rest of 2014.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the legislation would put individuals on par with companies, which had their mandate to provide health insurance waived until at least 2015. Earlier this year, the Obama administration extended that waiver until 2016 for companies with 50 to 99 employees.
"Given all the problems Americans are facing with the rollout of ObamaCare, the House will consider the Simple Fairness Act," Cantor said on the House floor.
"This bill will provide relief and fairness to individuals, just as the administration has done for businesses, by making the individual mandate penalty $0 for the remainder of the year."
Under current law, the fine for failing to buy health insurance for an individual in 2014 is $95, or 1 percent of taxable income. In 2015, the fine is scheduled to rise to $325, or 2 percent of taxable income.
Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) introduced the Simple Fairness Act on Friday.
"The president recently issued another delay to unilaterally change his own law, a delay that protected businesses from the employer mandate tax," she said. "It is not fair to give relief to businesses with big checkbooks, yet not help hard working families with relief from these unaffordable mandates."
House Republicans railed against the Obama administration's decision earlier this year to delay the employer mandate for companies but leave in place the mandate for individuals, calling it an unfair double standard.
GOP leaders have said they would push another bill in the coming weeks that would eliminate language in ObamaCare that says people are considered full-time employees who must be offered a health plan if they work 30 hours a week.
Republicans have said that language creates an incentive for employers to cut hours, which means less take-home pay.
Cantor raised this idea again Friday, after Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) called on Republicans to bring up a bill to raise the minimum wage. Cantor said that if the Congress could eliminate language on the 3-hour workweek, it would mean more take-home pay for workers, but without any risk of closing down jobs that is inherent in raising the minimum wage.