We’ll Have a Plan…Soon…Maybe
President Trump received high marks for moderation in his address to Congress last night, but he didn’t put a lot of meat on the bones of what he wants to replace the Affordable Care Act with.
He did, however, offer generalities that were consistent with the repeal plan that Speaker Paul Ryan and other House leaders have been developing. This was consistent with his earlier statement in the week that “nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”
Still, it’s five weeks into the Presidency, HHS Secretary Price is still putting together his team and the Labor Secretary-designate hasn’t even received a confirmation hearing, so it’s probably not surprising that general confusion abounds.
Our Message: Do No Harm
Last week, the aforementioned draft Republican bill to repeal and replace the ACA through the budget reconciliation process was leaked to the public. The text of the draft can be accessed here.
To our regret, the legislation includes a “pay-for” provision that would scale back the employer tax deduction for employer-sponsored coverage from 100 percent to 90 percent. The draft would also repeal several of the ACA taxes and fees. Click here for Steptoe & Johnson’s initial analysis.
But like many other rituals in Washington, the leaked document was quickly disclaimed. Freedom Caucus members denounced the refundable tax credits as a bloated new Republican entitlement program, and many of them weren’t so keen on the employee tax plan, either. GOP leaders quickly pronounced the draft as “non-operative,” but we doubt that means back-to-the-drawing-board.
More likely they fiddle with the contours until the Administration sends up its own plan in the coming weeks. In the meantime, click here for our updated resources page for you and your clients.
What You Can Do to Help
We have consistently opposed efforts to shift costs to employer plans in order to pay for “fixes” in the individual insurance marketplace, and we are urging all of our members to contact your representatives and senators and urge their opposition to any repeal/replace plan that taxes employer group health insurance benefits.
Jenn Urso, Vice President of Strategic Resources:
Michael Kanick, Digital Strategist: