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Shaheen's PACE Act Becomes Law, Provides Flexibility for States on ACA Requirements

jessie owen via flickr Creative Commons

President Obama has signed into law a bill that amends the Affordable Care Act to protect small and mid-size businesses from premium increases.

New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen had introduced the legislation called the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (or PACE) Act along with Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina.

Next year, the definition of state-based small group markets was set to expand from businesses with fewer than 50 employees to 100 employees.

Under the PACE Act, states can choose to stick with the 50 worker threshold, or raise it to 100. If it’s raised, it could mean higher costs for mid-sized businesses.

Shaheen says she doubts New Hampshire’s legislature will change the definition.

"We have heard from a number of insurers that they’re happy with the small group market size," Shaheen says. "We have a number of businesses and business organizations who have endorsed the PACE legislation in keeping the market size as it is."

Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte was a cosponsor of the bill, which passed Congress by unanimous consent.

"I was pleased to cosponsor this commonsense measure that will help ease burdensome regulations being imposed on New Hampshire’s small businesses by the president’s health care law," Ayotte said in a statement, adding that she will work against numerous other ACA provisions, including the so-called Cadillac Tax, the medical device tax, and restrictions on the use of health savings accounts.

Peter Biello is the host of All Things Considered and Writers on a New England Stage at New Hampshire Public Radio. He has served as a producer/announcer/host of Weekend Edition Saturday at Vermont Public Radio and as a reporter/host of Morning Edition at WHQR in Wilmington, North Carolina.
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