U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today introduced legislation to incentivize small businesses to hire veterans while at the same time providing them relief from the Affordable Care Act. The bill was introduced two weeks after the House approved a number of measures to assist veterans while improving accountability and efficiency at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"We know offering health care is costly for small businesses and the employer mandate in Obamacare has forced many to delay hiring, cut hours and in some cases reduce their payroll at a time when our economy is struggling to recover," said Davis. "The Hire More Heroes Act gives our small businesses another incentive to hire veterans, which helps to address the increasing number of unemployed veterans, while providing them with some relief from Obamacare."
The Hire More Heroes Act incentivizes small businesses to hire veterans by exempting veterans who already receive health insurance through the Department of Veterans Affairs or reservists covered under TRICARE from being counted towards the number of employees required by the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act. The employer mandate is a requirement that all businesses with more than 50 full-time employees provide health insurance to their employees or pay a fee.
Currently, there are 8 million veterans receiving health care through the VA system, and every service member returning from Iraq and Afghanistan has the option of signing up for health care through the VA.
"A survey done by the U.S. Chamber found that 71 percent of small businesses say Obamacare makes it harder for them to hire more employees," said Davis. "It only makes sense to exempt veterans receiving health care through the VA from Obamacare's employer mandate since they are clearly covered elsewhere and do not need employer-provided insurance."
Although national unemployment rates continue to decrease, unemployment among veterans continues to rise, with the current rate at 6.9 percent, just slightly lower than the national average. However, veterans who have served since 9/11 are facing a much higher unemployment rate of 10 percent.
"We know our military receives some of the best training in the world which produces skills that will benefit civilian employers," said Davis. "In fact, data recently released by the advisory company CEB shows veterans offer 4 percent greater productivity and they are more likely to stay at a company longer than their non-veteran peers. This is a commonsense piece of legislation that will help our veterans find work and assist small businesses in hiring qualified, well-trained employees while providing much-needed relief from Obamacare."