As most of America likely knows by now, the ACA continues to be the healthcare law-of-the-land. The American Health Care Act (phase one of the Republicans’ repeal and replace objective) was initially scheduled for voting on March 23, 2017 – which also happens to be the 7-year anniversary of the passage of the ACA. The vote was delayed by a day as the Republican party continued to negotiate changes in an effort to gain additional support. Late on Friday, minutes before the final vote would take place on the AHCA, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan elected to pull the bill. It is reported that he was not able to garner enough support to ensure its passage.
This decision leaves many employers wondering: Is it over yet? The answer is: Maybe… And maybe not. During debate of the bill late last week, both sides appeared to agree that the ACA did have some issues. Democrats supported the introduction of additional measures to strengthen the existing law, while Republicans argued in favor of scrapping the ACA altogether. For now, it appears both sides are going to take a breath and weigh the options going forward.
- Many in the Democratic Party, emboldened by the defeat of the AHCA, have begun to discuss pushing for single-payer options (also known as universal health care).
- President Trump, in addition to many others in the Republican Party, made the “repeal and replace” promise a cornerstone of their campaigns in 2016. It would not be surprising to see additional bills eventually make their way into Congress.
In the short-term, employers should continue to push towards the IRS deadline for submission of 1094-C and 1095-Cs this Friday, March 31st.
Looking forward, we must all keep an eye on continued changes to the ACA or additional attempts at replacement. There were also discussions in the Republican Party about removing the tax advantage from employer contributions towards benefits. This was initially proposed as a vehicle for funding some portions of the AHCA, but inevitably pulled from the final version that was introduced in the House. Keen employers will continue with their efforts to comply with the ACA, but keep an eye out for potential future changes and adjust course as necessary. It’s important to remember that, for now, nothing has changed.