Republican Party lawmakers have shifted their focus from a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to tax reform, however, the implications for the future of the ACA remain significant. Several new tax bills could have a major impact on health care law.
According to a report from Reuters, House Republicans want to delay several taxes connected to the ACA. The proposal to delay the ACA taxes came on December 12, in the form of five separate bills introduced by members of the Ways and Means Committee.
The five bills do the following:
- H.R. 4616 delays the Cadillac Tax and provides three years of retroactive relief and one year of prospective relief from the employer mandate.
- H.R. 4617 delays the Medical Device Tax for five years.
- H.R. 4618 delays a tax on over-the-counter medications for two years and allows reimbursement under consumer-directed accounts.
- H.R. 4619 and H.R 4620 both provide relief from the Health Insurance tax. H.R. 4619 specifically deals with plans regulated by Puerto Rico.
Separate from this proposal, the Republican Party is currently working on a major tax overhaul. Both the House and the Senate have passed legislation, and now the two versions need to be reconciled. The Hill reports that the final bill has been unveiled, and like the Senate bill, it also includes a repeal of the individual mandate. Many experts believe that this will lead healthy people to drop their coverage, resulting in higher premiums for the sick people who remain and destabilizing the system.
This year, the open enrollment period for the ACA health care exchanges was shorter than in previous years, lasting only from November 1 to December 15.
Despite the shorter enrollment period and the continued uncertainty regarding health care legislation, many people have enrolled. According to the first Weekly Enrollment Snapshot from CMS, 601,462 people enrolled during the first four days alone, including 137,322 new consumers and 464,140 consumers who were renewing their 2017 coverage. More than 2.5 million unique users visited the HealthCare.gov website during that time.
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