On March 7th, 2017, the Republican House Leadership released the DRAFT legislation to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – this legislation is titled “American Health Care Act” (AHCA). Most importantly, this legislation will not be seen, by many, as “repeal and replace”; rather, considering the extensive maintenance of current provisions of the ACA, it should be considered “repeal and repair”.
As an example, some of the provisions of the ACA that will be continued in the AHCA include, but are not limited to, the following:
The most important “modifications” under the American Health Care Act are as follows:
An “interesting” addition under DRAFT legislation include the following:
• Allows for an increase in contributions for a health savings account of up to $6,550 for an individual and $13,100 for a family.
This draft legislation was scheduled for “mark-up” at the House Way & Means and Energy & Commerce Committees on Wednesday, March 8th. Since that time, the following has occurred:
Congress is scheduled to be in session through April 7th, when it will take a two-week recess and reconvene on April 24th and largely remain in session until the August recess. The forecasted timetable for the reconciliation legislation currently has it being considered on the House floor at the end of this month. If passed, the Senate would need to take up the process through each of its committees of jurisdiction before passing it on the chamber’s floor. If there are any differences between the House and Senate versions, Congress can either have the opposite chamber pass their version as-is, or they can attempt to bridge their difference through a conference committee. This timetable would likely push any legislation well into May, although the goal of Republican leadership is to have the bill through the House and Senate by Easter.
As a reminder, until any legislation is formally enacted into law, the ACA remains the law of the land and all of its mandates, penalties, and enforcement remains in effect and any affected employer or individual should continue to follow all rules and regulations that are currently in place.