AHCA Round 2 – Feels like Goundhog Day

Here we go again. Republicans have released the newest version of the America Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA). As reported in many news outlets, the new version is designed to attract support from the conservative representatives that make up the House freedom caucus. It gives states more flexibility in opting-out of certain ACA provisions such as the requirement for certain group health plans to cover essential health benefits, and permitting higher rates for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

So now we are right back where we were in March. No vote on the bill has been scheduled as Republicans try to find enough votes to pass the legislation. If the bill manages to pass in the House, the changes may make it even harder for it to pass the Senate, so this is still just the beginning of the process.

Of interest to employers, the newest version still contains a provision that would essentially wipe out the employer mandate by making the 4980H penalties equal to $0.00 for failing to offer coverage to full-time employees. We are reviewing the bill in detail and will follow-up with another post if there are any other changes that effect employer-sponsored plans.

If you want to read the new bill yourself you can find it here.