Measure to repeal tax on premiums garners support in the House

Posted on September 24, 2012 | No Comments

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Representative Charles W. Boustany’s H.R. 1370, a measure to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) tax on health insurance premiums, has garnered enough co-sponsors to pass through the House chamber. The elimination of this tax, which is estimated to cost around $87 billion over 10 years, is supported by insurers and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). The tax applies to group and individual plans but exempts self-insured entities. According to STOP The HIT, a coalition of associations working to repeal the tax, H.R. 1370 now has 221 co-sponsors.

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Today, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) released The American Health Care Reform Act, the RSC's replacement version of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Below are key components of this proposed legislative concept:
  • Fully repeal the ACA
  • Allow the purchasing of insurance across state borders
  • Permit small businesses to pool together to increase their "buying power"
  • Reform medical malpractice laws
  • Increase access to health savings accounts (HSA)
  • Strengthen state-based high risk pools to help protect individuals with pre-existing conditions from coverage discrimination
  • Ensure that no federal funds are used for abortions
The RSC designed this proposal to reform the tax code without raising taxes, requiring an individual mandate, or including any subsidies. The proposal is an amalgamation of various Republican ideas on health care reform that have been touted over the years.
Yesterday, Maine Attorney General William Schneider filed documents with the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston requesting review of a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) determination that it would not be able to grant Maine's request for an expedited ruling on the state’s August 1 proposed state plan amendment (SPA), which makes significant cuts to their Medicaid program. Schneider also asked the court to order federal officials to pay Maine's share of related Medicaid expenses for the time they take in considering the request. By law, the federal government has 90 days to rule on the Medicaid consolidation request. The Maine department of Health and Human Services had planned to implement the Medicaid cuts by October 1. However, if the government employs the full 90-day time frame to rule on state's request, Maine could be waiting on a decision until the end of October.
On September 28, 2011, the United States Justice Department (DOJ) asked the United States Supreme Court to review the decision of the court of appeals for the Eleventh Circuit striking down as unconstitutional what the DOJ terms the law’s “minimum coverage provision.” In seeking Supreme Court intervention, the DOJ sought review on two matters: first, whether Congress exceeded its Commerce Clause powers, as enhanced by the Necessary and Proper Clause; and second, whether the Anti-Injunction Act bars the challenges from proceeding in the first place.
Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), at least 27 lawsuits have been filed challenging the constitutionality of various provisions of the law. While nearly half of the lawsuits have been dismissed on procedural grounds, three district courts have found provisions challenged to be constitutional, and three have found them to be unconstitutional. Previous HealthReform GPS Implementation briefs/updates have discussed these lower court decisions. Following appeals of each of these rulings, the United States Courts of Appeals in the Fourth, Sixth, and Eleventh Circuits have now issued decisions as well. Most importantly, the appellate decisions continue to reflect a split in judicial opinion regarding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. Other important issues addressed by the appellate rulings concerned the constitutionality of the ACA Medicaid expansion and the question of whether the trial court in the Virginia cases (Liberty University v. Geithner and Commonwealth of Virginia v. Sebelius) had the authority to hear the cases at all.
This is an updated version of a brief originally published on November 15, 2010. Shortly after President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)[1] into law, opponents of the law filed a series of legal challenges in federal court. This health reform implementation brief provides an overview of the legal challenges by identifying and providing summaries of the two major cases filed by states and select claims, not raised by the states, from other cases.