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July 13, 2017

Senate Health Bill 2.0: What You Need to Know

Senate Republicans released version 2.0 of their healthcare bill today. Overall, the bill closely hews to the last version of its repeal-and-replace “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” and contains very few provisions that will directly impact the employer market.

Key changes affecting the employer markets:

  • Retains the ACA Medicare and net investment taxes for high income individuals, both of which would have been eliminated under both the House bill and the prior Senate bill
  • HDHPs must not include coverage for abortion to qualify for HSA contributions
  • Adds new provision allowing HSA funds to be used to purchase health insurance (subject to certain restrictions)
  • Small Employer HRAs: deletes requirement that HRA paid-for coverage be “affordable”
  • Small Business Health Plans: these provisions first included in the prior Senate bill are retained but have been modified somewhat. It does not appear that any of the modifications are significant. We will further analyze this.
  • HSA “qualified medical expenses” expanded to now include medical expenses for dependents up to age 26

Click here for other changes of note, plus an updated bill comparison chart from our legal team at Steptoe & Johnson.

CIAB Urges HHS to Explore Cost-Saving Solutions

The Council is urging the Department of Health and Human Services to explore a number of potential cost-savings solutions to minimize the economic burden of the ACA and improve affordability, accessibility, quality, innovation and empowerment in the health care system.

These measures include (1) establishing a national benchmark health plan in lieu of current costly state-enhanced “benchmark” plans; (2) refining the scope of the Department’s current regulations on essential health benefits; and (3) exploring additional changes to the framework of qualified health plans.

Read the letter.

New Dem Coalition Releases Market Stabilization Proposals

Earlier this week, a group of 10 House Democrats, led by the New Democrat Coalition, released a set of proposals targeting the stabilization of health insurance markets and bringing down the cost of healthcare for all Americans.

Read the proposals.

Single Payer Resources & State Tracker

We have posted a single payer tracking and resources page on our website. The Council opposes the idea of a single payer healthcare system, as it threatens the employer-provided benefits market on a national scale and would result in other potentially damaging effects with regard to group benefits, jobs and taxation.

Our legal team at Steptoe & Johnson is tracking bills as they are introduced in legislatures across the country, and updated information can be found here.

Next Healthcare PULSE: July 24, 2:00 p.m. ET

The next Healthcare PULSE call is scheduled for Monday, July 24 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

These calls are designed to help you stay updated on what we’re working on here in Washington and to inject collaboration and forward-thinking into the issues you care about most amidst U.S. healthcare reform. We hope you can join us.

Joel Kopperud, VP, Government Affairs

Joel Wood, SVP, Government Affairs

Cheryl Matochik, SVP, Strategic Resources & Initiatives