Employers advised to stay tuned as another healthcare bill heats up

September 19, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

ACA snipAs yet another attempt to kill the Affordable Care Act (ACA) heats up in Washington, employers wondering how a new law might affect their benefit plans are advised to stay tuned. And with lawmakers facing a short timetable, at least some answers should be coming soon.

Lawmakers wanting to repeal and replace the ACA­—also known as Obamacare—are under pressure to pass a bill by September 30. If a bill is passed by that deadline, Senate Republicans would need just 50 votes, along with a sure tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence, to pass the measure under budget reconciliation rules. If a bill isn’t passed by September 30—when the reconciliation rules expire—60 votes will be needed to thwart a Democratic filibuster.

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CBO: $194 billion deficit increase if key ACA subsidies end in 2017

August 16, 2017 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

ACA snipby Jennifer Carson

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurers to offer plans with reduced deductibles, copayments, and other means of cost-sharing to certain people, depending on their income, who purchase plans through the ACA marketplaces. In turn, insurers receive federal payments arranged by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to cover the costs they incur because of that requirement.

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Senate agrees to consider healthcare bill

July 26, 2017 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

On July 25, after much back-and-forth in the Senate and the dramatic return of Senator John McCain, who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, the Senate agreed to open debate on legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski joining all Senate Democrats in voting against the debate, Vice President Mike Pence stepped in to break the tie and get the legislation on the table.

Soon after, however, a vote on a version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) failed by a count of 43-57.

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Senate issues revised version of ACA repeal-and-replace bill

July 13, 2017 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

On July 13, the Senate released a revised version of its proposed Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal-and-replace bill, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. The Senate has yet to vote on the original version.

The revised version of the bill includes a “consumer freedom” amendment to the ACA that would allow consumers to purchase lower-premium catastrophic plans with stripped-down coverage. The current law requires all plans to provide certain minimum essential health benefits. Detractors of the ACA believe the requirements drive up the cost of health care and force healthy people to enroll in plans that provide more coverage than they want.

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CBO: Senate GOP health bill cuts deficit, adds to uninsured

June 27, 2017 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have completed an estimate of the direct spending and revenue effects of the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.

The CBO and the JCT estimate that enacting the legislation would reduce the cumulative federal deficit by $321 billion from 2017 to 2026. That amount is $202 billion more than the estimated net savings from the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which was passed by the House in May. The additional savings largely come from steeper reductions to Medicaid than those proposed by the House bill as well as changes to the current subsidies for nongroup health insurance provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

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Senate releases highly anticipated healthcare bill

June 22, 2017 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

Update: On June 27, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that a vote on the Senate bill will be delayed until after the July 4th recess.

Following the May passage in the House of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Senate has now released the text of its own draft ACA reform bill.

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CBO says revised AHCA not much of an improvement over prior version

May 25, 2017 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

The saga of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Republican plan to repeal and replace key portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has been a long and winding one so far.

To recap: The original version of the AHCA was introduced in early March. After receiving lukewarm support and a discouraging report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which concluded that it would leave an additional 24 million Americans uninsured by 2026 as compared with the current ACA, it was pulled from the House floor shortly before a scheduled vote on March 24.

Republican lawmakers regrouped, and on May 4, a modified version of the AHCA squeaked through the House by the slimmest of margins. The vote took place before the CBO had a chance to review the new version of the bill.

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ACA ‘repeal’ bill eases employer requirements, faces uphill battle in Senate

Now that the House has passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA)—a proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare—the ball is in the Senate’s court. And while Senate Republicans say they won’t adopt the House’s version wholesale, most of the provisions easing requirements on employers are likely to appear in the Senate’s bill as well.

The measures in H.R. 1628 that affect employers are relatively uncontroversial, according to Eric Schillinger, a contributor to Federal Employment Law Insider and an attorney at Trucker Huss. Senate Republicans probably will push back against some of the changes affecting Medicaid and the individual market, Schillinger said, but “the employer provisions aren’t attracting the same controversy.”

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Modified Obamacare replacement bill narrowly passes House

May 04, 2017 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

In a squeaker of a vote, a modified version of the American Health Care Act passed the House 217-213 on May 4. The vote was cleanly split along party lines, with no Democrats supporting the legislation and 20 Republicans voting against it.

In March, the bill was pulled prior to a vote when it became apparent that it did not have enough support to pass. Since then, President Donald Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have been working within the GOP to generate support for the legislation and tweak it to satisfy disparate party factions.

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GOP ‘still has options’ after pulling ACA repeal bill

March 27, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

On March 24, Republican lawmakers pulled their proposal to undo parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when it became clear they didn’t have the necessary votes to pass the bill in the House.

The American Health Care Act would have, among other things, effectively voided the ACA’s employer mandate, which requires large employers to offer workers affordable health insurance. It also would have delayed the “Cadillac tax” on high-value health plans and made a few small changes to employer plans. Employers’ reporting requirements, however, generally would have remained. (For a full review of the bill’s provisions, see “ACA repeal proposal: Employer mandate gone, Cadillac tax remains.”)

Support for the bill dwindled as lawmakers tried to make concessions, according to Eric Schillinger, an associate at Trucker Huss and a contributor to Federal Employment Law Insider. Each time Republicans amended the bill to appease one group, they alienated another, creating a tug-of-war, he explained. Instead of allowing the bill to come up short on the House floor, Republicans pulled it to save face, he said.

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