Originally posted April 4, 2014 by Melissa A. Winn on https://eba.benefitnews.com

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed legislation that would modify the Affordable Care Act’s definition of a full-time employee from one who works 30-hours a week to one who works 40-hours a week.

The 248 to 179 vote was largely along party lines, with 18 Democrats joining a unanimous block of 230 Republicans to support the bill, H.R. 2575, also known as the Save American Workers Act of 2013.

The Big “I” applauded the bill’s passage, calling it a “common-sense fix.”

“Independent agencies serve many clients who have struggled with the prospect of complying with the employer mandate, and in particular the 30 hour per week definition of a full-time employee,” says Robert Rusbuldt, president and CEO of the Big “I.”

The law’s opponents argue the ACA’s current definition encourages employers to limit employees’ work hours to less than 30 a week to avoid the employer mandate requiring employers with 50 or more full-time workers to provide affordable health care coverage to their employees.

“Implementation of the employer mandate has caused many businesses to undergo the prospect of great financial strain or to contemplate dropping their health care plan altogether,” says Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president for external and governmental affairs.

The Big “I” believes this new legislation “would provide much-needed relief for job creators,” he says.

The White House on Tuesday threatened to veto the bill, citing a Congressional Budget Office analysis released in Feb. that found the legislation would increase the deficit by $74 billion and reduce the number of people receiving employment-based health coverage by about one million people. The vote is largely symbolic as it is not expected to make headway in the Democratic-controlled Senate.