First House bill would let companies avoid health coverage for workers by hiring veterans

The House is nearing passage of a Republican bill making it easier for smaller companies to avoid providing health care coverage to their workers by hiring veterans.

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The legislation is the first being considered by the new Congress, which convened Tuesday. It's the first of many GOP bills aimed at President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

The 2010 law phases in a requirement that companies with more than 50 full-time workers provide medical coverage for their workers.

The House bill would not count veterans who get health care from the Veterans Affairs Department or the military toward that 50-worker threshold.

Supporters say the measure would encourage employers to hire veterans. Critics say the measure would affect few companies.

The bill's sponsor is GOP Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois.