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Obamacare Lives. So Now What?

07/28/17

  08:04:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 367 words,  
Categories: News, Health Care Reform

Obamacare Lives. So Now What?

Capitol building

In the early morning hours of July 28, the Senate narrowly voted down a so-called "skinny repeal" of Obamacare... and in doing so, sealed the probability that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will remain the law of the land for the foreseeable future.

While calling the skinny bill a "repeal" was something of a misnomer, the limited legislation, if passed by both houses of Congress (unlikely, but not inconceivable), would have effectively ended the ACA's employer mandate, which requires that businesses with 50 full-time employees offer affordable health insurance. Additionally, it would have brought welcome relief from the mandate's time-consuming employer paperwork requirements, including the annual filings of IRS forms 1094/1095. The failure to pass the bill means that the yearly head counts (and headaches) will continue... and increases the likelihood that the long-delayed, and universally reviled, Cadillac tax may actually be implemented in 2020.

The "repeal and replace Obamacare" movement has risen from the ashes so many times, it's anybody's guess as to whether this failed vote truly represents the Republicans' last attempt to pass a new bill. But GOP members have made no secret of their desire to move on to tax reform and other matters, so it would appear that no further efforts to push through new health care reform legislation will happen anytime soon.

And what of Obamacare’s future? President Trump has repeatedly said the ACA should be allowed to "implode," with the expectation that Democrats in Congress would have no choice but to join Republicans in drafting a new bipartisan bill. More likely in the short term, however, is that both parties will agree to work together to address Obamacare’s most pressing problems, such as the lack of available individual coverage in many rural areas. What happens after that... again, it’s anybody's guess.

What we do know for certain is that as long as the ACA stays on the books, businesses must continue to follow the rules for providing minimum essential coverage to employees. And toward this goal, MedBen will continue to assist clients in ensuring that their plans comply with all federal and state regulations. Clients with questions regarding the ACA are always welcome to contact Vice President of Compliance Caroline Fraker at 800-851-0907 or cfraker@medben.com.

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