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Rounds, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Protect Tribes from Costly Obamacare Employer Mandate

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) joined Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and James Risch (R-Idaho) to introduce legislation to protect Native American tribes from Obamacare’s employer mandate.


“The federal government has a trust obligation to provide health care to Native Americans, yet tribal governments and tribal entities are being wrongfully forced to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s employer health care coverage mandate or risk paying expensive fines to the government for opting-out,” said Rounds. “In South Dakota, the fines issued by the IRS for failing to comply with the mandate could devastate tribal businesses. Our legislation would exempt tribal employers from the employer mandate so they will no longer be penalized for failing to comply with a mandate they never should have been subject to in the first place.”


The Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act will exempt tribes and tribal employers from Obamacare’s employer mandate.


The employer mandate places an undue burden on tribes, leading to lost jobs and increased unemployment. Instead of bolstering tribal economies, it drives out opportunities and wages. Tribal members were already exempt from the individual mandate in the original Obamacare law. This legislation upholds the United States' trust responsibility to Indian tribes while honoring the government-to-government relationship between tribes and the U.S. government.