In the early morning hours of July 28, 2017, the Senate’s leadership failed in its latest attempt to pass a bill—any bill—to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Capping off weeks of divergent proposals, and various procedural moves to avoid the normal committee process, the last measure was defeated 49 – 51.
What happens now? Possibly nothing at all—at least not in Congress. On the other hand, several senators and representatives from both sides of the aisle have expressed their intent to work together to craft modifications to the existing law. While any significant legislation is highly unlikely, the parties may find some areas of agreement to revise specific items within the ACA. Typically, such work would begin in committees in the House and Senate.
Meanwhile, we may see some changes in how the ACA is enforced. The Departments of Labor (DOL), Treasury (including the IRS), and Health and Human Services (HHS), with joint responsibility for regulating and enforcing the ACA, may take steps to change rules that the current administration considers too burdensome on businesses or individuals.
ThinkHR will continue to monitor and report on ACA developments that impact employers and their group health plans.