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June 14, 2017

Joint Letter to Senate: Preserve the Employer Market

Nearly 60 business groups, including The Council, signed on to a letter last week addressed to members of the United States Senate urging them to avoid any actions that could destabilize the employer-sponsored health care system as they work to draft legislation to repeal and replace the ACA.

Among the threats to the ESI market are proposals to tax workers’ health coverage, whether by preserving the ACA’s 40 percent Cadillac Tax, or imposing new taxes on employee healthcare benefits. As the letter reads, “Legislation that implements a tax on health benefits will result in a system that is worse than current law for workers and for employers, and failure to eliminate the Cadillac Tax will raise coverage costs for American workers, their families and employers, and work against efforts to lower health care costs.”

Read the letter, which also contains suggested proposals for the Senate to consider.

Our own grassroots campaign is underway and we continue to encourage you, your colleagues and your clients to contact your respective U.S. senators as soon as possible and urge their strong opposition to taxation of benefits.

Learn more and get involved.

Tight Deadline for Senate ACA Repeal Bill

The Senate now plans to vote on its ACA repeal legislation the week of June 26. It’s a tight deadline. A bill being crafted by 13 Republican Senators will be sent to the Congressional Budget Office as soon as this week, where it will be scored for cost and coverage impact, and ensure it meets reconciliation parameters.

Not unlike how the House proceeded with its legislation, the Senate is keeping a tight lid on the details of the bill. Republicans can only afford to lose two votes, and issues like funding Planned Parenthood, Medicaid expansion, essential health benefit waivers, and funding high-risk pools risk are among those that risk alienating some of their members.

Click here for our ACA Reform Legislation Tracker, updated this morning by our legal team at Steptoe & Johnson. The latest from Joel Wood is below:

The healthcare update starts at 2:29.

Action Item: We Need Your Input

Members of Congress are looking for anecdotal evidence on the role that employers play in driving and supporting innovation in the heathcare market and the related impact on the costs. We’re working with our allies at The American Benefits Council to collect and package this information for congressional offices, and need your help.

Please review the list of innovation topics:

  • Focused network solutions: Accountable Care Organziations, Patient Centered Medical Homes, High Performance Networks, Surgical Centers of Excellence
  • Alternative site of care: Primary care on-site clinic, telemedicine, retail clinic
  • Reference-based pricing supported by a transparency tool
  • Health advocacy via a specialized vendor such as Accolade, Quantum, etc.
  • Expert medical opinion program
  • Chronic condition management programs
  • Technology-based well-being resources (apps, devices, web-based)
  • Pharmacy management

Then complete this brief survey questionnaire to help us package and share our industry’s efforts.

PwC’s Annual Healthcare Report Highlights Cost

PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) released its annual report projecting the growth of medical costs in the employer-based insurance market. According to the report, the healthcare industry appears to be settling into a “new normal” heading into 2018. PwC says price continues to be a major driver of healthcare costs and projects 2018’s medical cost trend to be 6.5 percent—the first uptick in growth in three years.

Read the report.

Joel Wood, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs:

Joel Kopperud, Vice President, Government Affairs:

Cheryl Matochik, Senior Vice President, Strategic Resources & Initiatives:

Michael Kanick, Digital Marketing Strategist:

All of us: