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Senator Lankford Applauds Passage of Bill to Protect Small Employers From Obamacare Mandate

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today applauded Senate passage of an Obamacare reform bill that he co-sponsored, the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) Act. This bill would protect small businesses from healthcare premium increases under Obamacare, by allowing states to maintain the current small group market definition, which applies to businesses with up to 50 employees. Doing so would prevent premium increases and disruption for small and mid-sized businesses, because they’re not held to the same mandates as large companies.

“Years after its implementation, I am still committed to protecting Oklahomans from the harmful effects of Obamacare,” said Lankford. “I’m pleased that this commonsense bill has finally passed Congress and is on its way to the President’s desk for his signature. By allowing states to maintain the current small group market definition of 50 employees, we’re able to protect small businesses from one of the burdens of complying with the law. Many Oklahoma small business owners and officials are concerned about how their company will survive under the Obamacare mandates. Repealing this provision protects the jobs of thousands of Oklahomans.”

Due to Obamacare, the definition of the state-based small group markets is scheduled to change, on January 1, 2016, from 50 to include employers with up to 100 employees. This change would force many small and mid-sized businesses to be subject to different rating rules and requirements, with the potential of increasing the health insurance premiums for small businesses and their employees.  Some studies have predicted that premiums could increase by approximately 18 percent for most mid-sized employers if the small business definition increases to 100.

The House passed the PACE Act (H.R. 1624) on Monday by voice vote and the Senate passed this House-passed version today by voice vote. Lankford co-sponsored the Senate version (S. 1099) during the summer.

Earlier this month, Lankford co-sponsored The Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2015 (S. 2045) to eliminate Obamacare’s High Cost Plan Excise Tax, also known as the “Cadillac Tax.” Lankford has also co-sponsored the Obamacare Repeal Act (S. 339), which would repeal the entire healthcare law.