ACA Watch September 26, 2017
Today Senate Republicans decided not to hold a vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill. To most observers, this decision effectively ends the Republican hope for ACA repeal-and-replace legislation in 2017.
September 30 is a crucial deadline for the GOP. It marks the last day that Senators could pass a bill through the “fast track” budget reconciliation process.
In the past week, several Republican Senators have announced that they would not vote for the Graham-Cassidy bill, including Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), John McCain (R-AZ), and Susan Collins (R-ME). With a 52-to-48 advantage, the GOP could only afford to lose two votes from their party and still pass legislation with Vice President Pence breaking a tie. (Washington Post)
Tax reform is expected to be a focus for Congress the rest of 2017, and may leave little time for much else. Bipartisan healthcare legislation such as a bill by Sens. Alexander (R-TN), and Murray (D-WA) to stabilize the insurance markets could be explored by Congress in the coming months. However, no action on the Cadillac tax or other consumer-directed healthcare provisions is expected in the near future.
Tomorrow is the deadline for insurers to sign contracts for offering health plans on the 2018 ACA marketplaces (Washington Post.) Some insurers predict steep increases to insurance rates, but say that increases could be prevented if cost-sharing reduction payments were provided by the federal government.
As a long-time member of the Employers Council for Flexible Compensation (ECFC), Employee Benefits Corporation will continue to provide ACA Watch updates as legislation continues to evolve.