Benefits

House Republicans Release Their Replacement Bill for Obamacare

By Andie Burjek

Mar. 7, 2017

House Republicans released the American Health Care Act on March 6, their replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act. The bill will go through revisions and challenges and needs to pass the full House and Senate before going to the president. It’s the first official Republican health care insurance replacement plan.

Employer groups provided their perspective based on the current bill. Most significantly, the bill did not include a direct tax on employer-provided health benefits, which would impact 177 million people with employer-sponsored coverage. The so-called Cadillac tax, a 40 percent excise tax on rich health benefit plans, would be delayed until 2024. The AHCA would also erase penalties for the individual and employer mandates.

It’s important that Congress work toward the full repeal of the Cadillac tax and resist efforts to revive proposals to cap the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health benefits, said James Klein, president of the American Benefits Council, in a statement.

“The Council appreciates that the proposal zeroes-out the [ACA’s] employer mandate penalties and we will continue to work with Congress to ensure final legislation reduces employer reporting and other ACA burdens,” wrote Klein.

This is good news for employers and for workers who receive health care through their employer, according to a statement from the National Business Group on Health. Wrote Brian Marcotte, NBGH president and CEO:

“We are glad that the bill delays the ACA’s 40 percent tax on employer coverage and we look forward to continue to work with Congress to permanently repeal it. We also welcome the changes that allow individuals to save more to pay for their health care expenses through health savings accounts.”

The ACHA, in the context of the individual market, called for larger changes in the individual market than the employer market. It’s received some criticism for potentially benefitting healthy, high-income people while disadvantaging sick, low-income people; for possibly making it more difficult for older people to afford health insurance; and for barring Medicaid from paying for services provided at Planned Parenthood clinics, which would make it difficult for low-income women to get cervical cancer screenings, mammograms and birth control.

Andie Burjek is a Workforce associate editorComment below or email at aburjek@humancapitalmedia.com. Follow Workforce on Twitter at @workforcenews.

Andie Burjek is an associate editor at Workforce.com.

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