One year after President Obama signed into law a national healthcare mandate, raising taxes and making premiums more costly, the Alabama House of Representatives today passed a plan that would make healthcare more affordable by easing the tax burden on small businesses that offer insurance and workers who participate in employee healthcare plans.
House Bill 61, sponsored by Representative April Weaver, who represents Shelby and Bibb Counties, would allow small business owners and their employees to deduct 200 percent of what they spend on health insurance premiums from their state income taxes. Offering such an incentive will encourage more companies to offer healthcare benefits and more employees to take advantage of it, reducing the number of Alabamians currently uninsured.
“The rising cost of healthcare has been especially difficult for small businesses and their employees,” Representative Weaver said. “Liberals in Washington thought the answer was forcing companies into ill-fitting healthcare plans, expanding Medicaid rolls and raising taxes to pay for it. In Alabama, we are lowering taxes for small businesses and workers to help spur job growth and make quality healthcare more available and affordable. We’re also saving taxpayer money by moving the uninsured into employer-provided healthcare plans, therefore lowering costs now borne by the state. I appreciate the support of my colleagues in the House and look forward to working with the Senate to move this bill toward final passage.”
House Speaker Mike Hubbard said Representative Weaver showed great initiative in taking the reins on this bill and driving it successfully through the House, especially as a newly-elected lawmaker.
“Our new Members have shown tremendous leadership early in this Regular Session,” Speaker Hubbard said. “Representative Weaver deserves a great deal of credit for her work carrying this bill through the legislative process. It is often too expensive for small business owners to offer quality healthcare to their employees. Many small business workers find it too expensive to participate in health plans that are offered. That means more Alabamians go uninsured or depend on Medicaid for coverage. Offering healthcare tax incentives to small businesses and their employees helps bridge that gap, while also improving our business climate and jumpstarting job growth.”
House Bill 61 passed by a vote of 83-12 and now goes to the Senate.