The House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees introduced two bills on March 6, 2017, collectively entitled the American Health Care Act (the “Act“). The Energy and Commerce bill primarily addresses Medicaid and other state-based program funding issues, while the Ways and Means bill focuses on the fees and taxes, insurance subsidies, and other provisions that directly affect employer-provided health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA“).
It is important to note what these bills are and what they are not. The bills do not represent the complete repeal of the ACA or the final word on what the Act may ultimately look like when finished. These are reconciliation bills intended to repeal and replace certain portions of the ACA by a simple majority vote in a way that would not be subject to a filibuster in the Senate if brought to a vote there. The trade-off is that reconciliation bills are limited to making changes to a law (e.g. the ACA) that directly affect the federal budget. As a result, these bills are limited in scope to those ACA provisions that collect revenue through fees or taxes, such as the individual and employer mandates, as well as ACA provisions that result in federal spending, including Medicaid expansion and insurance subsidies in the public health insurance marketplace. ACA provisions that do not directly involve revenue or spending, such as the dependent coverage requirement up to age 26 and other health plan design mandates, the essential health benefits rules, and Form 1094/1095 reporting, are unaffected.
For details about how the Act would affect employer-provided health coverage, please see our article on our companion blog, HB Health and Welfare.