The flurry of activity this week in the Senate around a last ditch effort by the Republicans to repeal and/or replace the Affordable Care Act, ended early this Friday morning with the final nail in the coffin being the failure of getting the latest “skinny repeal” bill through the Senate. The bill failed by a slim 49-51 margin.
Following a procedural vote on Monday to open debate on healthcare reform, the Senate voted on three separate measures to repeal the ACA. The first was an outright repeal of the ACA. This vote would have required the traditional 60 votes in order to pass. It only received 43. Next up on the docket was a vote to repeal and “delay.” This would have eliminated the penalties for individuals that did not obtain health insurance and for employers that didn’t offer compliant coverage to their employees. Many of the other provisions of the ACA would have remained intact until a future date. This failed as well with only 45 votes. The republicans last hope was the “skinny” version which was a pared down version of Republican proposals to undo Obamacare with no plan for what to replace it with. It would have eliminated the individual and employer mandate, repealed the medical device tax for three years, defunded Planned Parenthood for a year and included a provision giving states more flexibility to opt out of insurance regulations. It also would have increased the amount that people can contribute to Health Savings Accounts. The hope was that if the Senate could get this slimmed-down version of the bill through the Senate, some other provisions could have been revived during the reconciliation process with the House.
So what’s next?
The activity this week in the Senate is probably the last effort that the current legislative body will make in regards to reforming our healthcare system this year. They are likely now to move on to other topics, such as the federal budget. The future of healthcare reform is still hard to predict. What’s sure, is that the ACA is still the law of the land and employer compliance is actively being enforced by the IRS. While it’s possible, and even likely, that we may see some bipartisan efforts to shore up the most challenged areas of the ACA, the requirements on employers to offer affordable health care insurance to their employees and then report on those offers to the IRS will remain.
Employers without an effective solution for ensuring they are compliant with the ACA can reach out to our team of ACA professionals. The Integrity Data ACA Compliance Solution can take standard payroll data and use it to help employers ensure they are staying compliant with the ACA. Feel free to contact us via email, phone (888-786-6162) or check out our website for more information.
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By Integrity Data, Inc. – an ACA Compliance software company located in Illinois