President Trump Orders Pull-Back on ACA

ACA changesBy Brad Roehrenbeck, General Counsel & VP, Legal Services, Compliance

As widely reported over the weekend, within a few hours of his swearing in, President Donald Trump signed his first Executive Order, calling on federal agencies to take immediate steps to curtail aspects of the Affordable Care Act and signaling the new administration’s plans to repeal and replace the Act altogether.

What does the Order say?

The Order itself has little if any tangible impact on the law. The Order states the administration’s official policy of pursuing a complete repeal and replacement of the ACA. It directs the heads of all federal agencies to take steps within their authority to remove or minimize any provision of the ACA that carries fiscal or regulatory burden. As the primary agencies charged with implementing the ACA, that action will likely come from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the IRS. The order also directs these agencies to afford greater flexibility to the States in areas impacted by the law. Finally, the order directs federal agencies to take steps to encourage and enable an interstate market for health coverage.

What does the Order mean for employers?

For now, the Order has no real impact on employers, except to signal that federal agencies will be acting quickly to relax various components of the ACA that impact employers, group health plans, and their members. The Senate has yet to confirm those President Trump has nominated to lead the agencies affected by the Order. Once those agency heads are confirmed, we expect to see regulations issued as prescribed by the Order and will be watching closely. Of course, both the Trump administration and members of both houses are said to be working on legislation to repeal and/or replace the ACA. Both the House and the Senate have laid the groundwork for streamlined procedures for repeal of the Act. They face more of an uphill battle to pass legislation to replace the ACA, as a 60-vote majority will be required in the Senate to pass replacement legislation. We will provide updates as details of those efforts become public. Until such legislation passes or further regulations are released, employers should bear in mind that the ACA remains in full force and effect.MedCost

House Vote Fails to Override Presidential Veto

ACA Repeal is Unsuccessful

Capitol with flag. shutterstock_216021430 WEBAs promised, the US House of Representatives held a vote yesterday, attempting to override President Obama’s veto on a bill which would have repealed the Affordable Care Act. The 241-186 vote in the House was a largely symbolic vote that was not expected to reach the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto.

The Associated Press reported that House Speaker Paul Ryan is planning a Republican proposal this year to replace the health care reform law passed six years ago.

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear ACA Challenge

TGovernment buildinghe US Supreme Court has rejected the most recent challenge to the Affordable Care Act. Modern Healthcare reported that the Court refused to hear a case alleging that the ACA law should have originated in the House instead of the Senate. To date, lower courts have uniformly rejected the challenge. The Court’s refusal to take up the challenge leaves those decisions intact, likely putting the issue to rest.

The case is Sissel v.Department of Health and Human Services, 15-543.

President Vetoes Bill to Repeal ACA

US Capitol CongressPresident Obama vetoed Congress’ bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Friday. The House passed this repeal 240 to 181 on January 6, after the Senate approved the bill 52 to 47 in December.

The congressional vote margins indicate that there is not enough support to overturn the President’s veto (The Washington Post).