Around 3:30 p.m. on Friday House Speaker Paul Ryan came to the conclusion that the GOP didn’t have the votes in the House of Representatives to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and pulled it off the floor prior to a vote.
This outcome came after a very tumultuous three weeks for the AHCA legislation, including multiple amendments, a CBO score that showed 24 million more people would be uninsured under the law, and what was perceived as rushed committee mark-up meetings and votes to keep the legislation moving forward.
In a prepared statement late Friday, Speaker Ryan acknowledged that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the “law of the land for the foreseeable future.” Lawmakers have differing opinions as to how quickly they will resume efforts to repeal and replace the ACA, but most think it will not be an immediate priority.
President Trump, in press availability shortly after the bill was pulled, was asked what issue is next on his agenda. He stated, “We’ll probably be going right now for tax reform, which we could have done earlier … so now we’re going to go for tax reform, which I’ve always liked.” President Trump’s statement certainly seems to indicate that, at least in the short term, the ACA will remain in place.
What does this mean for employers?
Employers need to refocus their attention on the ACA and the various requirements that many thought might be going away under the AHCA. Here are a few things to keep in mind as we move forward with the ACA as the “law of the land”:
• Medical Device Excise Tax comes back in 2018
• Health Insurer Tax comes back in 2018
• PCORI fees continue through 2019
• Cadillac Tax set to go into effect in 2020
• All existing reporting requirements stand
• All existing notice requirements stand
• Must continue to offer coverage to those averaging more than 30-hours per week or face penalty
• Nondiscrimination for fully insured plans TBD
• Auto-enrollment provision was repealed
Stay tuned as Scott Benefit Services will continue to keep you posted with any changes and updates in the world of healthcare reform.