WASHINGTON (July 23, 2015) — The Tire Industry Association (TIA) said it has been asked to join a coalition in support of a new, bipartisan bill that would help small businesses provide healthcare coverage to their employees.
“We believe that this legislation…is consistent with the TIA's priorities,” wrote TIA Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield in the July 20 issue of TIA's Weekly Legislative Update.
Mr. Littlefield said he would also recommend that the Small Business Legislative Council, of which he is a former president, join the coalition as well.
The legislation — the Small Business Healthcare Relief Act of 2015 — was introduced in the House and Senate simultaneously on July 7.
The bill would restore to small businesses the right to use tax-advantaged funding arrangements to help employees purchase health plans on the individual market, according to a congressional summary of the legislation.
It would also establish stand-alone health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) for small businesses. These HRAs could be used to pay for qualified health items on a pre-tax basis, or provide tax-advantaged resources to purchase health policies in the individual market, the summary said.
The Departments of Labor and the Treasury prohibited tax-advantaged funding arrangements in September 2013, according to the summary.
“Employers with 50 or fewer employees are not subject to the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate requirement to provide coverage to their employees,” it said. “However, many would choose to provide some degree of financial assistance to employees for healthcare-related costs if they were extended the option to do so on a pre-tax basis.”
The bill is a bipartisan opportunity to broaden affordable healthcare options for small businesses, Mr. Littlefield said.
Other supporters of the legislation include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Retail Federation and the National Association of the Self-Employed.