Murkowski Works to Get Veterans Hired, Help Alaskan Businesses Deal With Employer Mandate

Senator: Bill Avoids “Double Coverage,” Helps Small Business Avoid Cost Hike

Senator Lisa Murkowski joined a number of her Senate colleagues as an original co-sponsor of The Hire More Heroes Act – a bill incentivizing companies to hire more American veterans by exempting potential employees already receiving health coverage through Tricare or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs VA from being counted toward the 50 employee threshold for the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate.

“This legislation does two things: it avoids unnecessary redundancy for small business owners and it helps address our nation’s staggering veteran unemployment rate. Employers need not insure those who already have quality care provided to them for their service defending our nation,” said Murkowski.  “As our economy continues to improve, we need to help small businesses hire more, give back to our soldiers, and remove the economic threat that one or two more hires presents to employers approaching the 50 worker mark.”

As Alaskan and American businesses consider filling job vacancies, many business owners are wary of hiring workers that will trigger the employer mandate.  The Hire More Heroes Act allows employees to stay under the 50 employee threshold if they hire veterans who are already covered through TRICARE or the VA, particularly of value in Alaska, which at 77,000 has the highest concentration (17 percent) of veterans in the nation. Similar legislation passed the House of Representatives unanimously last week. Murkowski co-sponsored similar legislation in the Senate, but the Democratic majority blocked it from a vote.

The Hire More Heroes Act was introduced by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), and is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), John Barrasso (R-WY), John Boozman (R-AR), Richard Burr (R-NC), Dan Coats (R-IN), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), John Hoeven (R-ND), James Inhofe (R-OK), Mark Kirk (R-IL), John McCain (R-AZ), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rob Portman (R-OH), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Tim Scott (R-SC), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), John Thune (R-SD), Pat Toomey (R-PA), David Vitter (R-LA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).