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On June 22, the House GOP Task Force on Health Care Reform released its proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with new health care policies aimed at reducing government regulation and lowering costs.
Upon release of the paper, SHRM issued a press statement applauding the task force's recognition of the important role employers play in providing quality, affordable health benefits to employees and their families, while also expressing opposition to the proposal to cap the excludability of employer-sponsored health coverage from taxation. The excludability of employer-sponsored health benefits is a decades-old pillar of tax policy which, if changed, could unintentionally erode the employer-based system.
The task force's proposal, a key priority for House Speaker Paul Ryan (pictured), does contain a number of provisions that SHRM advocates in support of, including repeal of the ACA's definition of 30-hours-a-week employment as full time; repeal of the 40 percent excise tax (the "Cadillac tax") on high-value, employer-sponsored health care benefits; and promotion of employer-sponsored wellness programs and medical liability reform as a strategy to reduce health care costs.
Additional Details on Proposals of Relevance to the HR Profession:
The four representatives who led the Task Force on Health Care Reform in developing the proposal outlining health care reform legislative priorities for the next Congress and new administration included Tom Price (R-GA), Budget Committee; John Kline (R-MN), Education and the Workforce Committee; Fred Upton (R-MI), Energy and Commerce Committee; and Kevin Brady (R-TX), Ways and Means Committee. (These committees have jurisdiction over health care issues.) It is expected that the Republican presidential nominee and House GOP members will tout the new health care plan at the upcoming conventions and on the campaign trail leading up to November's elections. Congressional activity is not likely in the current Congress. The chance of this proposal becoming legislation with any hope of becoming law will depend on the Republicans' ability to win the White House as well as maintain control of both chambers of Congress. Without securing both branches of government, the proposal will likely be left on the drawing board.
SHRM has been actively engaged in discussions with the House GOP Task Force on Health Care Reform and is a member of the National Coalition on Benefits, which advocates for preserving the tax treatment of employer-sponsored health benefits. SHRM will continue to encourage Congress to seek alternatives that support and strengthen employer-sponsored health care benefits, which are an important part of Creating a 21st century workplace.
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