- Associated Press - Monday, February 10, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Two Arkansas legislators say they want to shield businesses from federal penalties if their operations don’t fully comply with the nation’s health care law.

House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, introduced a bill Monday that would grant a state tax credit to businesses that don’t comply with certain requirements under the Affordable Care Act. Republican Sen. Bart Hester of Cave Springs co-sponsored the measure.

The Legislature opened its 2014 session Monday. A key issue is whether to continue a plan to use federal dollars to provide insurance for poor people. Business groups say if the “private-option” doesn’t continue, some companies will be forced to pay federal penalties for failing to provide insurance.

Under Westerman’s bill, the state would grant a tax credit to businesses to cover federal penalties.

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