Congress Proposes Steps to Fix ACA

Congress Proposes Steps to Fix ACA

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Congress Proposes Steps to Fix ACA
Calendar01 February 2017

The path Congress will take to repeal and replace the ACA has been anything but clear. Since the election, many approaches have been discussed, some that could take up to two years to implement. Trump is asking Congress to move more quickly. Last week, a committee of House Republicans released four bills that suggest a new direction. In an article in Health Affairs, author Timothy Jost says “…they are not aimed at destroying the ACA, but rather at trying to calm insurers and a nervous public. Some may even pass on a bipartisan basis. This is a very interesting development.”

Each bill is focused on a different piece of a replace strategy, addressing areas that seem to be creating the highest levels of angst. The first three are aimed at insurance company concerns in hopes of stabilizing the individual insurance market:

  • verification of eligibility to enroll and receive a government subsidy
  • expand the age category ratios for insurance company pricing
  • tighten the grace period for non-payment of insurance premiums

The fourth bill affirms a commitment to continuing to ban pre-existing condition limits, an issue that has captured the attention of members of both individual and group health plans.

These bills are to be the topic of a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Feb 2, which is a first step in the vetting process.  While these bills do not directly address employer concerns, movement to stabilize the individual market sooner rather than later is a welcome response that will benefit individual and group health plans alike.

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