U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), Chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBC), today issued the following statement upon passage of the PACE Act, which protects thousands of small-to-mid-size businesses from costly increases in health insurance expenses by enabling them to continue purchasing health insurance for their employees on the large group market. Obamacare would force these employers into the small group market and its potentially higher prices on Jan. 1, 2016.

“As Chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, I have heard first-hand how Obamacare is hurting small businesses in Louisiana and across the country, which is why I’m constantly working with my colleagues to pass effective legislation that will help small businesses succeed despite the Obama Administration’s regulatory onslaught,” said Vitter. “Passing the PACE Act is a relatively minor fix to the tangled mess of Obamacare, but it will certainly make a big difference for thousands of small businesses and their employees across the country.”

Under Obamacare, states have had the option of defining the small group market as limited to employers with 50 or fewer employees, and all have done so. But Obamacare also mandated that on Jan. 1, 2016, the definition of the small group health insurance market be automatically extended to include businesses with 51-100 employees, with no state option to retain the smaller definition of 50 or fewer employees. With Senate passage of the PACE Act last night by a voice vote, states now have the option beyond Jan. 2016 to continue defining the small group insurance market as 50 or fewer employees, while allowing businesses with 51 to 100 employees to remain in the large group market. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the PACE Act earlier this week. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill would save $400 million over ten years.

As SBC Chairman, Vitter has tirelessly fought Obamacare stipulations, which negatively impact small businesses across the country. Recently, Vitter sent a letter to Jacob J. Lew, Secretary of the Department of the Treasury, voicing concerns over an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) notice that forces small businesses into Obamacare Exchanges via fines totaling up to $36,500 per employee. Click here to read more.