Later today, the House will vote on H.R. 3236, the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015. This bill demonstrates our continued commitment to helping our veterans, who have sacrificed so much for this nation. Also, this legislation incorporates two important veterans-related bills from the House Ways and Means Committee: the Hire More Heroes Act and the Helping Veterans Save for Health Care Act.
The Hire More Heroes Act will help businesses hire more veterans by providing them relief from a burdensome Obamacare tax. Right now, the law mandates that if a business has at least 50 full-time employees, it must provide them with health insurance even if they’re already getting health insurance elsewhere. Many veterans—over 9 million—are already receiving heath care from the VA, but they are still counted toward the 50-employee threshold. This creates a perverse incentive for companies to turn away veterans—not because they don’t want to hire them, but because Obamacare makes it too expensive to hire them. This commonsense bill simply exempts veterans who are already getting health care through TRICARE or the VA from counting toward the Obamacare employer mandate threshold. This will encourage businesses to hire more veterans—without fear of this Obamacare tax.
The Helping Veterans Save for Health Care Act, sponsored by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), is another commonsense bill that will help veterans with a service-connected disability save for health care costs through health savings accounts (HSAs). Generally, veterans getting care though the VA, including those with a service-connected disability, are not eligible to contribute to HSAs, which seriously limits their choices for saving for health care. That is not fair. This legislation puts veterans first, and it provides them and their families with more clarity and flexibility in their health care choices.
These reforms are another example of the Ways and Means Committee’s continued record of getting things done for the American people. We owe our veterans the economic opportunity and access to health care that they have earned, and that’s what we’re helping to provide today.