Friday, 27 May 2022

Thompson’s Small Business Healthcare Relief Act passes house

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson’s (CA-5) bipartisan legislation, the Small Business Healthcare Relief Act (H.R. 5477), passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Last week, H.R. 5477 was passed out of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

This legislation allows small employers to continue to offer Health Reimbursement Arrangements, or HRAs, to their employees so that they can choose a quality, affordable health insurance plan that fits their individual budget and health care needs.

Existing Treasury Department guidance under the Affordable Care Act limits the use of HRA’s for small businesses.

“The passage of the Small Business Healthcare Relief Act is a prime example of what we should be doing in Congress – working across party lines to make health coverage available to our constituents,” said Rep. Thompson. “This legislation will help small business owners, workers and their families. By ensuring that small business owners can continue to offer HRAs to their employees, we not only arm our small business owners with a competitive advantage to recruit and retain employees, but we also help ensure that hard-working Americans can receive quality, affordable coverage.”  

“The Small Business Healthcare Relief Act is a common-sense, bipartisan solution ensuring our small businesses aren’t penalized for trying to do the right thing. HRAs are an affordable solution for both employees and employers to combat the escalating cost of health insurance. I thank my colleague, Congressman Mike Thompson, for continuing to work with me to find ways to increase access to high-quality health care for all Americans,” said Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA).

On Sept. 13, 2013, the Department of Treasury issued guidance disallowing businesses from using HRA’s as a tax-free means to reimburse employees, stating these arrangements were disqualified under Affordable Care Act’s annual dollar cap.

– Ensuring that small businesses are allowed to use pre-tax dollars to give employees a defined contribution.
– Allowing employees to use these funds as an HRA to purchase health coverage on the individual market, as well as for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses.
– Protecting small business employers from being unnecessarily financially penalized for providing this option to employees.

The legislation is budget-neutral, meaning it won’t add a single dollar to our deficit.

The bill is supported by the United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), the National Association for the Self-Employed, and the Coalition for Affordable Healthcare (CAHC).

The legislation now goes to the Senate.

Thompson represents California’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties.

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