Employee Benefits Compliance

Republican Proposal to Repeal and Replace Obamacare

us capitol

This is the 5th article in the series Obamacare to Trumpcare. The last article is here.

Big News!!!

Today (March 6, 2017), the Republicans released the American Health Care Act, which is legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare (the Affordable Care Act) through a budget process known as reconciliation.  The House Ways and Means Committee has scheduled a markup of its legislation on Wednesday, March 8, at 10:30 am.

There are two separate bills that comprise the American Health Care Act, because two different House committees have jurisdiction over different areas.

  • Ways and Means Committee – 57 pages – provisions repealing ACA taxes and mandates, expanding use of HSAs, and providing a monthly tax credit that increases with age.
  • Energy & Commerce Committee – 66 pages – provisions affecting public health programs, such as  “unwinding” Medicaid expansion and changing Medicaid funding to the states.

There are links below to the two bills, Press Releases about them, and section-by-section explanations of them (5 & 8 pages each).

You might want to start by reading the two-page Press Releases and Fact Sheets, and then the 5-page and 8-page Section-by-Section summaries.   Save the bills themselves until later, because there might be changes before the final version.  (Then again, maybe not.)

Check back at this site for additional details of these proposals, once we have a chance to read them.

Short Summary

  • Reduces individual and employer mandate penalties to zero, effective for months beginning after Dec. 31, 2015.  This provides retroactive relief to those impacted by the penalty in 2016.
  • Repeals taxes on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, health insurance premiums, and medical devices.  Repeals the limit on employee pre-tax contributions to Health FSAs. Repeals the additional 0.9% Medicare tax on high-income earners, beginning in 2018.
  • Delays the Cadillac tax until 2025.
  • Expands eligibility for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), increases maximum contribution amounts and generally broadens “medical expenses” that can be reimbursed or paid by HSA funds, but prohibits money to be spent for abortions or related medical care.
  • Provides a monthly tax credit to individuals and families who don’t receive insurance through work or a government program. The amount increases by age, starting at $2,000 annually if under age 30, to $4,000 if age 60 or older.   The credits are additive for a family and capped at $14,000.
  • Allows adult children to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26.
  • Prohibits health insurers from denying coverage or charging more money to patients based on pre-existing conditions.
  • Transitions Medicaid to a “per capita allotment” for each state and gives states more flexibility in setting amounts and eligibility. 

Links to the Bills, Fact Sheets and Section-by-Section Summaries

Ways and Means Committee  – American Health Care Act

Energy & Commerce Committee  (Public health programs and Medicaid provisions)