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WASHINGTON – Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, has introduced his first bill as a member of Congress, but in a way there’s nothing new about it.

It’s at least the 40th attempt a Republican lawmaker has made to repeal all or part of the controversial health care legislation backed by President Obama and passed by Congress three years ago.

Collins’ effort, which he unveiled Thursday, is a bit different and narrower than most of those earlier repeal attempts. It merely would repeal the mandate that most employers offer health insurance, as well as a tax on health insurance policies and restrictions on health savings accounts.

By narrowing his bill to those unpopular provisions of the law, Collins hopes to appeal to Democrats who may not want to withdraw the bill’s mandate that everyone get health insurance by 2014, but who nonetheless want changes to the Obama health law.

“How many Democrats will support this? I don’t know,” Collins said. “But you’ve got a bunch of Democratic senators running for re-election in states that don’t like Obamacare.”

The health care law mandates that employers with more than 50 full-time employees offer insurance – a provision that, Collins said, will serve as “a wet blanket on the economy.”

In addition to repealing that provision, Collins’ bill also repeals a new tax on health insurance policies, which, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will be “largely passed through to consumers in the form of higher premiums.”

The Collins bill also makes it easier for people to participate in health saving accounts, meaning it’s possible that part of the bill will win bipartisan support.

Collins plans to formally roll out the bill in early May along with its chief Senate sponsor, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

In doing so, Collins said he’s fulfilling a campaign promise.

“One of the things I talked about most on the campaign trail was the need to repeal Obamacare,” he said.

email: jzremski@buffnews.com