WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) praised Congress for working to send the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) Act (H.R. 1624) to the president’s desk, which was enacted into law today. H.R. 1624 is the companion legislation to Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-S.C.) S. 1099, of which Sen. Inhofe is a cosponsor.
“As seen with the enactment of the PACE Act, the new Republican majority in Congress is getting work done to address concerns that are being heard at home,” Inhofe said. “When I travel around the state every weekend, Oklahomans are telling me what a disaster ObamaCare has been and how the law’s overreach has impacted their pocket books and access to meaningful employment. With the PACE Act, businesses with between 51 and 100 employees will no longer face new ObamaCare regulations that would have forced significant increases in healthcare costs next year. The PACE Act also allows states to retain the current definition of a ‘small group market’ under the Affordable Care Act, protecting many mid-size businesses from more onerous regulations. This new law will help to protect current American jobs and the creation of new ones within mid-size businesses as our economy grows.”
Currently the “small group market” is defined by businesses with 1-50 employees. This legislation would stop the administration from expanding that definition to businesses with 51-100 employees, which would impose further regulations regarding essential health benefits and rating restrictions causing plans to become more expensive. Without enactment of this legislation, many companies would no longer be able to offer its current plans to its employees, which could result in more Americans losing their current coverage.
H.R. 1624 restores the power back to the states when defining a “small group market.” The House passed H.R. 1624 on Sept. 28, and the Senate passed it on Oct. 1. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the PACE Act will save $400 million over 10 years. The legislation has the supported of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and many other pro-business organizations from around the country.