It seems hard to keep up with all the changes being introduced, re-introduced, voted against, and voted for when it comes to the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Recently, the Senate GOP acknowledged defeat in its latest effort (Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill) to replace the ACA. At the same time, President Trump has indicated he could sign an executive order soon allowing insurers to sell health plans across state lines and make it easier for individual consumers to buy coverage as a group. He also indicated that a new healthcare reform proposal could pass in the next few months. It appears the future of the ACA will continue to be debated so stay tuned.
To untangle the web of where we’ve been this year, here is a recap of the ACA repeal and replace journey that has taken place over the past 6 months:
BACKGROUND: On Wednesday, September 13, 2017, a proposal (dubbed the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill) to repeal the structure and architecture of the ACA and replace it with a block grant given annually to states to help individuals pay for health care was unveiled. At the same time, Senator Bernie Sanders formally introduced his proposal, known as the "Medicare for All Act of 2017," to expand federal Medicare into a single payer universal health insurance program. This plan is likely to go nowhere in the GOP-controlled Congress.
On Monday, July 31, 2017, a compromise plan was proposed by a bipartisan group of 40 House lawmakers called the Problem Solvers Caucus (yes, that is a thing) to address the problems with the ACA. In September, the Caucus met with President Trump to continue discussions on health care, tax reform, and infrastructure investment.
On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, the U.S. Senate rejected a proposal from Republican lawmakers for a repeal-only measure.
On Thursday July 13, 2017, the U.S. Senate released a revised draft of the Better Care Reconciliation Act. On July 17, 2017, this revised bill failed to garner enough support to move it forward.
On June 22, 2017, Senate Republicans released their 142-page ACA replacement, titled the "Better Care Reconciliation Act."
On May 4, 2017, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, with a few alterations from the version previously proposed.
The Senate created its own version of the American Health Care Act bill in response to the House bill.
On March 6, 2017, House Republicans unveiled proposed legislation to replace the ACA called the American Health Care Act.
Key Takeaway for MRA Members: What this means for employers right now is that ACA in its current form still remains the law of the land and covered employers need to continue to comply with all aspects. MRA will continually monitor and provide updates on any new developments.
As always, our HR Business Advisors are available to answer your questions, 24/7, at 866-HR-HOTLINE (866-474-6854), or email InfoNow@mranet.org.
Source: Michael Hyatt, HR Government Affairs Director, MRA – The Management Association; CCH/Wolters Kluwer