The Affordable Care Act (ACA) Remains the Law of the Land
On March 24, 2017, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan pulled the American Health Care Act (AHCA) from consideration by the House of Representatives, which means the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was not amended and remains the law of the land for the foreseeable future.
On March 6, House Republicans introduced the AHCA. The AHCA is a budget reconciliation bill, pursuant to January's budget resolution (S.Con.Res.3) for the federal government’s 2017 fiscal year, directing Congressional committees to draft reconciliation legislation to repeal certain tax and spending provisions of the ACA. Although the AHCA was approved by several House committees, including Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, Budget, and Rules over the past few weeks, on Friday, March 24 2017, it became apparent to House leadership and the Trump Administration that the bill did not have enough votes to pass the House. Faced with probable defeat, Speaker Ryan pulled the bill.
At this time, there does not appear to be a clear pathway to reviving ACA repeal and replace legislation. On Friday, both Speaker Ryan and President Trump indicated that legislative efforts to repeal and replace the ACA were over, at least for now. President Trump suggested that the Administration’s strategy may be to let the ACA stay in place because he believes that “it’s imploding and soon it will explode.” Speaker Ryan and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Brady (R-TX) indicated that House Republicans will now work on comprehensive tax reform legislation.
Based on the comments from Speaker Ryan and the White House, it appears unlikely that the AHCA or any alternative comprehensive repeal and replace legislation will be considered by Congress this year. Congressional leaders likely will attempt to adopt a new budget resolution for the federal government’s 2018 fiscal year sometime later this spring. The 2018 budget resolution will likely include new budget reconciliation instructions to the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees, instructing them to craft comprehensive tax reform legislation.
It is, however, possible that the Administration will consider additional regulatory actions related to the ACA. For example, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price recently invited governors to apply to HHS for State Innovation Waivers that would allow them to have greater flexibility to structure the provisions of health care in their states. The Administration will also likely consider possible actions that may be needed to stabilize the individual insurance markets, including finalizing the market stabilization rule proposed by HHS on February 17, 2017, and determining whether to appropriate money to fund Exchange/Marketplace cost-sharing subsidies.
Impact to Employers
For employers, this means all ACA mandates, requirements, and potential penalties remain in effect at this time. For example, the employer “shared responsibility” mandate and related employer reporting requirements have not been amended and remain in place and enforceable by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Additionally, Exchange/Marketplace notices will continue to go out to employers, including those from federal Exchanges/Marketplaces (see the Eye on Washington, Affordable Care Act (ACA) Health Insurance Marketplace Notices for more information).
Employers should continue to comply with the ACA mandates and other requirements until any future legislation is enacted or additional guidance is issued by HHS, the Department of Labor, or the IRS.
ADP Compliance Resources
ADP maintains a staff of dedicated professionals who carefully monitor federal and state legislative and regulatory measures affecting employment-related human resource, payroll, tax and benefits administration, and help ensure that ADP systems are updated as relevant laws evolve. For the latest on how federal and state tax law changes may impact your business, visit the ADP Eye on Washington Web page located at www.adp.com/regulatorynews.
ADP is committed to assisting businesses with increased compliance requirements resulting from rapidly evolving legislation. Our goal is to help minimize your administrative burden across the entire spectrum of employment-related payroll, tax, HR and benefits, so that you can focus on running your business. This information is provided as a courtesy to assist in your understanding of the impact of certain regulatory requirements and should not be construed as tax or legal advice. Such information is by nature subject to revision and may not be the most current information available. ADP encourages readers to consult with appropriate legal and/or tax advisors. Please be advised that calls to and from ADP may be monitored or recorded.
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Last updated March 28, 2017
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