WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) announced a bicameral agreement to pair structural ACA reforms with a temporary two-year funding extension for the health law’s cost-sharing reduction (CSR) program.
The agreement, in principle, would fund CSRs if structural reforms to the ACA are incorporated. It includes:
Funding for CSRs through 2019, with pro-life protections. For 2018, carriers must meet certain conditions to receive CSRs. These conditions would be determined in consultation with the Secretaries of Treasury and Health and Human Services to prevent “double dipping.”
Relief from the individual mandate from 2017-2021. This timeframe should produce enough savings to cover the cost of providing relief from the employer mandate and the HSA expansion policy.
Relief from the employer mandate from 2015-2017. Employers would be exempt from penalties if they did not provide coverage based on requirements of the mandate.
Expansion of HSAs to increase the maximum contribution limit.
Many issues remain unclear (e.g., is there any relief from the Cadillac tax? is there any relief for ACA reporting? What is the scope of the HSA improvements? etc.). More details will follow when legislative language is released in coming days.