The Most Recent Senate Heath Care Bill: Has Anything Changed for Employers,
and What’s Next?

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On May 4, 2017 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in an effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), leaving a wake of uncertainty for employers.

 

On May 25, 2017, Valiant teamed up with the CEO and President of Nimble Reporting, Todd Bellistri and the CEO and President of the National Association of Heath Underwriters (NAHU), Janet Trautwein to examine how the House proposed health care bill could potentially affect employers. The discussion resulted in a concentrated look into repeal and replace, via our ACA Update Webinar, which you can check out HERE

 

Valiant & Nimble Reporting have teamed up again regarding the new Senate health care bill, to update you on the latest developments.

 

Now everyone is asking: What’s changed for employers in the most recent Senate Healthcare Bill?

 

The new health care bill to come out of the Senate last week shares many of the same concepts and provisions as the House bill. As Ms. Trautwein outlined in our original ACA Update webinar, the method used in attempt to pass the AHCA is called Budget Reconciliation; this method only allows for the repeal of ACA attributes dealing with taxes and other spending, which in a nutshell, means not much has changed for employers – yet.

 

However, there are a few important components to address regarding the most recent bill.

 

1) The Senate Bill Does Not Indicate Direct Changes for Employers at This Time. While there are no direct changes, it’s important to keep an eye on how premium subsidies will influence employers indirectly. The proposed premium subsidies are less generous than the current law, thus many individuals may be unable to afford coverage. In addition, the eligibility criteria for premium subsidy is similar to current law, based on household income and eligibility for employer sponsored coverage.

 

2) Employer Reporting Has Not Changed. The subject of reporting has not been approached in either the house bill nor the senate bill due to use of the Budget Reconciliation method, which again, can only address repealing taxes and spending functions. However, it is possible that the potential enactment of this bill into law will require the employer reporting to be simplified.

 

3) Large Employers Will Have Options. As with the House bill, the passage of the Senate Bill would indicate that large employers (50 or more full-time employees) won’t have to offer health insurance to their employees, rendering the ACA’s employer mandate obsolete.

 

4) Both Bills Remain Silent on Hourly Workforce Provisions. This comes back to using the method of Budget Reconciliation to make possible passage easier. If it’s only addressing taxes and spending, the current employer health care provisions of the ACA will still stand.

 

What’s Next?

 

1) Scoring. The bill was passed to the Congressional Budget Office for scoring. In the meantime, Senators continued to negotiate and tweak the draft. Scoring of the bill was released early this week.

 

2) Compliance. Now that the score is released, the Senate parliamentarian is working with both the Republican and Democratic majority leaders to determine if the bill complies with the rules of reconciliation.

 

4) Debates & Proposed Amendments. If the bill complies, it will be moved to the house floor for a 20-hour marathon of debates and proposed amendments; upon the 20-hour closure, voting for said debates and proposed amendments will begin for an undetermined amount of time.

 

5) Final Passage. The Senate will vote on final passage, with the proposed AHCA needing at least 50 of 52 Republican votes to pass.

 

*Update* – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced that the vote to enact the AHCA has been postponed until after the Fourth of July recess, and so employers still remain at the crossroads of this major decision.

 

Valiant, in conjunction with Nimble reporting is committed to keeping you up to date on the latest in Health Care and its effects on employers. We welcome any questions that you may have regarding these recent developments and will be sharing additional information as soon as it becomes available.