In a rare Sunday session, the Senate voted down a Republican attempt to repeal the ACA during deliberations on a highway bill. The vote was intended to accommodate GOP freshman senators who haven’t had a chance to fulfill campaign promises to vote for repeal. Conservative senators remain unhappy, however, that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) won’t commit to using budget reconciliation to try to strike the law. Sunday’s vote was the first time the Senate voted to repeal the ACA since the GOP took control of the chamber in January.
This week in Congress, the House Education and Workforce Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday to review the policies and priorities of the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell will testify.
The American Benefits Council is urging the Labor Department to make clear that its proposal to extend the ERISA definition of fiduciary to more financial professionals doesn't apply to employer health and welfare plans where plan assets aren't held in trust. "Because selling is generally treated as advice" under DOL's proposal, it could turn insurers (and agents, brokers and consultants) promoting their products and services into fiduciaries, ABC wrote in comments to the department. DOL officials have said informally that the fiduciary proposal isn't intended to apply to health and welfare plans, but ABC and other groups want the department to make that position explicit in final rules. Timing of those rules is unclear, but the Obama administration seems intent on having them in place by late 2016.