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Obama signs bill repealing health care reform law vouchers


WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill that repeals a health care reform law provision that would have required employers to offer low-wage employees company-paid vouchers to buy coverage in state health insurance exchanges.

The voucher repeal provision is part of an appropriations measure, H.R. 1473, that the president signed Friday after final congressional passage of the bill.

The voucher provision, which Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., backed when the health care reform legislation was working its way through Congress, prompted strong opposition from business groups, which said it would boost employer costs and add administrative complexity.

Under the provision, employers starting in 2014 would have been required to offer vouchers to employees with household incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty level and whose premium contributions were between 8% and 9.8% of their household income.

The value of the voucher, though, would have been equal to what their employer would have paid if the employee enrolled in a plan with the largest employer premium contribution. Employees then could have used the voucher to buy coverage in an exchange and keep the difference in cash if the plan they purchased cost less.

Also last week, President Obama signed a measure, H.R. 4, that repeals a health care reform provision that would have required employers doing more than $600 in business with a corporate vendor to furnish Form 1099 statements.

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