Americans are split as to the degree of change they would like to see regarding the ACA. Even those who voted in favor of a repeal and replace are interested in keeping several provisions of the law. Will the law be completely repealed and replaced? Likely, no. There are three main provisions that are very popular, and most likely to remain:
- Coverage to age 26 on a parent's plan
- Pre-existing condition coverage
- Preventive care
On Friday February 3rd, we received an update from Washington D.C. by Janet Trautwein, Executive Vice President & CEO of NAHU, (National Association of Health Underwriters) following her earlier testimony before the Senate.
Ms. Trautwein's testimony stressed the need to quickly stabilize the individual insurance market - within the next 60-90 days. Decisions need to be made quickly to avoid insurance carriers pulling out of the individual health insurance market. It is expected the individual penalty will be removed. At no time will individuals impacted by market changes go without coverage.
For those of us needing a refresher in government, understanding our legislative process is key to following how our health care laws will be changed.
Mitch McConnell is the Majority Leader of the Senate. There are 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats. To get a bill passed in the Senate, 60 votes are required, which requires bi-partisan participation of 8 Democratic votes.
Paul Ryan is the Speaker of the House of Representatives. There are 241 Republicans and 194 Democrats. Republicans have the 218 votes for a simple majority.
Ms. Trautwein confirmed that it would be very unlikely that repeal and replace of the ACA would both happen at once. However, partial repeal can take place through reconciliation. Reconciliation bills cannot be filibustered and can be passed with a simple majority in the Senate.
Repeal and replace ideas include but are not limited to:
- Budget reconciliation process to repeal only the budget relevant parts of the law
- Return power for health care back to the states
- Association health plans and purchasing pools
- Purchase across state lines
- Promote HSA's, transparency and medical liability reform
- Reform FDA to reduce the cost of prescription drugs
In summary, as we await changes, we advise clients continue to comply with all requirements of the ACA. These processes are complex and often delayed.
As I write this update, I am reminded of all the changes our clients have been through over the years. Not just with employee benefits, but legislation by industry and California employment law requirements. Thank you for continuing to do business in California. For our clients that moved to Texas and Nevada, thank you for giving your employees the opportunity to keep their jobs. Running a company is complicated.
You can continue to count on our team for timely employee benefit and human resource updates.