On March 24, House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the Republican’s proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) bill before a single vote was cast. The party didn’t have enough votes to pass the bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. “We came up short,” Ryan told reporters. “We are going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”
“We were very close,” President Donald Trump said in the Oval Office after the bill was pulled. “It was a very, very tight margin.”
ACA is Still the Law
It is impossible to know what will come next for a replacement plan. For now, BCI Group encourages employers to stay the course and continue to comply with current law. We’ll continue to update this blog as news progresses. Reach out if you have questions.
Health care premiums and deductibles are high because medical care is very expensive in the United States. It’s far more costly than anywhere else in the world.
The Campaign Promise
President Trump vowed to dismantle the ACA. In order to repeal, additional legislation must be passed. Without legislation on the books, everything is still speculation. Trump has claimed the repeal could take until 2018.
In January the president signed an executive order which gives the Department of Health and Human Services and other executive departments and agencies the authority and discretion to roll back certain aspects of the ACA. While signed, the broad language in the order could make dismantling pieces of the legislation difficult.
Health & Human Services
Tom Price, the newly elected secretary of health and human services, may act swiftly with Trump’s executive orders; however, he cannot do the following on his own:
- Defund ACA subsidies
- Cut Medicaid
- Remove pre-existing condition exclusions
The Republican Party
Republicans vowed to design an alternative plan which ensures broad access to health care and coverage while controlling costs. Under the ACA, more than 20 million Americans have gained health insurance.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan claims a repeal could be issued as soon as March; however, the party remains sharply divided over how much of the ACA should be repealed and how much — if any of it — should be replaced. Senate Republicans are not ready to act on any kind of repeal without a consensus replacement plan.
What the IRS Has Done
In February, the IRS indicated that for 2017 it will accept and process tax returns where a taxpayer doesn’t indicate their coverage status.
NOTE: This blog will be updated as proposed legislation progresses. It is impossible at this point to know what repeal and replace will look like. For now, BCI Group is still encouraging employers to stay the course and continue to comply with current law. We’ll continue to update this blog as news progresses. Reach out if you have questions.