Bill aims to exempt schools from mandateNews added by Benefits Pro on June 3, 2014

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By Kathryn Mayer

A new bill would exempt schools from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate.

Introduced by Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., the bill — called Safeguarding Classrooms Hurt by Obamacare’s Obligatory Levies Act — would exempt K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, and state and local education agencies from the mandate. Messer rolled it out late last week.

“At a time when school systems across the country are strapped for cash, it is not fair to pay for the president's health care law on the backs of our students and teachers,” Messer said in a statement. “If we really care about our kids and their education, we will do something about it. This bill will stop the harmful Obamacare tax on school districts, save jobs, and ensure more money is left in school budgets for teacher development and student learning.”

The administration so far twice delayed the mandate, a key piece of Obamacare.

Under the latest delay, employers with between 50 and 99 employees have until January 2016 to offer health insurance or pay a fine, and employers with more than 100 employees must offer insurance or pay a fine of $2,000 per worker by January 2015. Companies with fewer than 50 employees are exempt.

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline urged lawmakers to pass the bill, arguing that PPACA is a prime example that “federal policies unrelated to education can still burden our nation’s classrooms.”

The committee says that public schools and community colleges around the country have limited or reduced the work hours of part-time employees to avoid having to provide them with health insurance under PPACA.

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