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Coats' bill would delay health law

Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., announced he has introduced legislation that would delay until 2015 the individual and employer insurance mandates in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Enrollment for the Affordable Care Act starts Oct. 1. The individual mandate takes effect in 2014.

Coats said the law has increased insurance premiums, forced employers to cut workers’ jobs or hours and required families to change coverage plans.

“The best shot at repealing this devastating law is to delay it and allow the American people to decide Obamacare’s fate in the 2014 election,” Coats said Monday in a statement.

Republicans would have to win a majority in the Democratic-controlled Senate and maintain their House majority to try to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Such legislation would certainly be vetoed by President Barack Obama, considering the health care law is regarded as the signature legislative accomplishment of his presidency.

The Obama administration has delayed the employer insurance mandate until 2015. That provision requires employers with at least 50 full-time employees to provide health coverage to them or face fines. A full-time employee is defined as one who works at least 30 hours a week.

Coats’ bill is the same as one sponsored by Rep. Todd Young, R-9th, and passed by the House in mid-July in a 251-174 vote. Since 2011, the House has approved repealing, delaying or defunding the Affordable Care Act at least 40 times.

Nine Republican senators, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have co-sponsored Coats’ bill.