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The Affordable Care Act: What will happen next?

April 4, 2017

By Lori Stewart, SPHR®, SHRM-SCP, HCS, Partner, Human Resources Consulting

*HKP maintains political neutrality when presenting information and seeks only to inform and educate our clients and the general public.

The Kaiser Family Foundation and the Jama Network have released information regarding a recent survey they conducted of the American public’s opinion on health care. The infographic (found at http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2614802) is based on a recent independent survey of Americans to gather their opinions about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the proposed American HealthCare Act (AHCA), which was, in essence, defeated in Congress March 24, 2017.

The results of the survey are interestingly very much representative of the factions in the House of Representatives, which were vividly highlighted just over a week ago. The Republicans’ opportunity to repeal and replace the ACA became a reality this year, and the AHCA was almost put to a vote to replace ACA as the new health care law of the land. Ultimately, it did not get put to a vote because the Republican party was divided on the fundamentals of how health care and health insurance should be provided in America.

It would appear one outcome of the ACHA exercise in that Congress has represented the will of the people in about the same percentages this infographic indicates. Constituents were, for the most part, accurately represented by their various representatives in Congress.

There are three main camps when it comes to ideology around the ACA, health care and the health insurance system. In the infographic, which was developed from survey results of Americans, those three camps are characterized as follows:

  • Democrats
  • Independents
  • Republicans

In the House vote on the AHCA, those three camps were characterized along similar, but slightly different, lines as follows:

  • Democrats (let’s keep but improve the ACA)
  • Moderate Republicans (let’s repeal and replace with something like ACA)
  • Freedom Caucus/Tea Party/Conservative Republicans (let’s repeal and potentially replace, or not)

As long as these three different ideologies remain in the country, and therefore represented in the House, there is not likely to be a significant legislative change to the ACA with the makeup of this particular Congress. However, the President does wield some power over how the ACA performs via the executive branch of government – the branch that executes or enforces the ACA. The agencies to keep an eye on in 2017 are the IRS, Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Will the IRS strictly enforce the individual and employer penalties associated with the ACA? Will HHS continue to improve the efficiency of the healthcare.gov website and continue to grant the individual subsidies in an efficient manner? Will CMS continue to timely pay the Medicaid due to the states who are participating in compliant ACA marketplace exchanges?

We will keep an eye on the action of these agencies as 2017 plays out and keep you informed as to changes which could affect you and your business in the coming year and beyond.

For more information or assistance on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or HR/benefits compliance, call 888-556-0123, email info@hkpayroll.com or submit our online form.

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