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As previously reported, on May 4 the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Subsequently, on May 24, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its analysis of H.R. 1628. GOP senators have indicated that some portions of the House plan will be changed or stripped out during Senate consideration of the measure.
Since the release of the CBO's analysis, GOP senators have been working toward the development of a bill that would garner the 51 votes needed for passage, while bridging the gap between moderate and conservative lawmakers. It is expected that Senate Republican leadership will release a blueprint of their health care overhaul efforts in the next few weeks. Unlike the House, the Senate is bound to have a CBO analysis before a floor vote can occur since H.R. 1628 was initially created under the budget reconciliation process and requirements.
In anticipation of a Senate health care proposal, employer groups remain vigilant as Congress looks for additional revenue to fund health care reform, possibly by taxing workers' health coverage like the Affordable Care Act's (ACA's) 40 percent "Cadillac tax" or by imposing new taxes on employee health care benefits, which could be included in last-minute negotiations. To that end, employer groups including SHRM sent a letter urging preservation of the tax treatment of the employer system in any health care proposal. In addition, SHRM sent a letter to Senate leadership encouraging support for employer-sponsored health plans.
As the Senate considers ACA reforms, SHRM will continue to advocate in support of the employer-sponsored system. Stay tuned to future editions of HR Issues Update for timely and relevant updates.
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