As one of the new Congress’ first moves, the House passed H.R. 22, which would ease some of the administrative burden of the Affordable Care Act for small employers who hire veterans.

Under H.R. 22, introduced by Rep. Rodney Davis (R. – Ill.), employees with military service who receive health care coverage from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the federal Tricare program would not be counted toward determining whether the employer is large enough to be subject to the employer shared responsibility payments under the ACA.

“This bill will provide small businesses relief from the employer mandate and an opportunity for veterans to more easily find and maintain long-term employment in their local communities,” said Bradley Lavite, superintendent of the Veterans Assistance Commission in Madison County, Ill.

Also see: Educating clients on the employer mandate: The next steps

Under the ACA, employers with at least 100 full-time employees must offer coverage or be liable for a $2,000 per employee penalty, starting this year. The 100-employee threshold will drop to 50 employees next year and remain at that level.

The Congressional Budget Office and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, meanwhile, estimate that enacting H.R. 22 would reduce revenues by $858 million over the 2015-2025 period.

Lauding the bill, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) says the legislation will help decrease the number of unemployed veterans and support small-business owners as they grow and bolster the economy.

The bill passed the house 412-0, with three no votes. Davis introduced an identical bill, H.R. 3474,  in November 2013 and it twice passed the House but was never taken up in the Senate.

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