GOP Again Takes Aim at ACA

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GOP Again Takes Aim at ACA
Calendar09 September 2014

As Congress returns from its August recess, the House is expected to take up legislation (HR 3522) that would allow insured group health plans to renew existing plans or purchase other coverage that otherwise does not meet the minimal essential coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Like similar measures that have already passed the House, the bill is not expected to be taken up by the Senate.

Under a transitional policy announced by the administration in November 2013, health insurers could continue coverage for existing enrollees that would otherwise be canceled in the small group and individual markets, if states allow it. That reprieve was extended in March to policy years beginning on or before October 1, 2016, which means the noncompliant plans could continue into 2017. The relief does not apply to policies being canceled because they have an annual dollar limit.

Ahead of the November 15 start of the law’s second open enrollment period, the House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing on the topic Wednesday, with Andy Slavitt, deputy principal administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testifying. 

A federal appeals court has withdrawn a recent ruling that would have prevented federally-run health insurance exchanges from awarding insurance subsidies to consumers. That decision (Halbig v. Burwell) held that the ACA's language only authorizes the IRS to provide tax credits to individuals for health insurance coverage obtained from a state-run exchange. In setting aside the July ruling of its three-judge panel, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia announced it will re-hear Halbig using a full panel of judges. Parties in the case will re-argue the dispute for the court in mid-December. 

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