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Committee Advances Reforms to Expand Affordable Health Care Coverage for Working Families

 
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), today approved a number of legislative proposals to expand affordable health care for working families and promote a healthy workforce. The bills — the Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 1101), introduced by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Tim Walberg (R-MI); the Self-Insurance Protection Act (H.R. 1304), introduced by Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN); and the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (H.R. 1313), introduced by Chairwoman Foxx — are part of a broader effort to replace Obamacare with free-market, patient-centered reforms.

Members issued the following statements upon conclusion of today’s markup:

“We are delivering on our promise to repeal Obamacare and replace it with free-market, patient-centered reforms, and today we took another important step in that process,” Chairwoman Foxx said. “These reforms will help expand affordable coverage for working families, lower health care costs for small businesses and their employees, and promote a healthy workforce. All of these proposals reflect the principle that individuals should have greater control over their health care and the freedom to do what’s best for their families. I want to thank my colleagues for championing these important reforms that will help provide the American people a better way on health care.”

“As a physician, I know firsthand the challenges facing working families as they struggle with soaring health care costs and dwindling choices,” Rep. Roe said. “The last thing hardworking Americans need is to lose access to a flexible, affordable health care plan model because of more bureaucratic overreach. That's why the committee has advanced legislation to protect the ability of employers to customize health care plans for their employees. This positive reform, along with other efforts to replace Obamacare with free-market solutions, will help deliver a patient-centered health care system that puts working families first."

“Small businesses and their employees in Michigan have been hit particularly hard by Obamacare. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been destroyed, employers across the country have been forced to close their doors, and workers have fewer health care options,” Chairman Walberg said. “I am proud to co-sponsor a proposal that would lower health care costs for small businesses and help expand affordable coverage for employees who want to purchase insurance through work. Representative Johnson has championed these positive reforms for years, and I appreciate the opportunity to join in that effort. This legislation and the other important reforms approved by the committee are the kinds of positive, patient-centered solutions we have promised the American people.”

The three bills approved by the committee today are:
 
  • The Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 1101), introduced by Reps. Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Walberg, would empower small businesses to band together through association health plans to negotiate for lower health insurance costs on behalf of their employees. The proposal passed the committee by a vote of 22 to 17.

  • The Self-Insurance Protection Act (H.R. 1304), introduced by Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), would reaffirm long-standing policies to ensure employers can continue to offer workers flexible, more affordable health care plans through self-insurance. It passed the committee by voice vote.

  • The Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (H.R. 1313), introduced by Chairwoman Foxx, would provide employers the legal certainty they need to offer employee wellness plans, helping to promote a healthy workforce and lower health care costs. The bill passed the committee by a vote of 22 to 17.

 
More information on the markup is available here.

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