PIA Reports: Affordable Care Act Goes Live
WASHINGTON, DC—October 4, 2013—Amid a Federal government shutdown that began on October 1, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went “live” this week. Congress continues to make the ACA a controversial piece of negotiations related to the budget impasse; the implementation of ACA certainly has tax and budget implications and it is not inappropriate to consider its impact in fiscal debates. However, given that the ACA is the law of the land, Printing Industries of America’s public policy goals are to make the law as understandable and workable for printing companies in spite of the flaws of the bill itself. To that end, this Special Edition imPRINT focuses on summarizing specific legislative improvements to the ACA that Printing Industries of America pursuing on Capitol Hill, as well as providing resources to help you understand and comply with the new law.
Legislative Initiatives Related to ACA
Printing Industries of America is pursuing the following legislative changes to the existing health care law. These include:
- Redefining the ACA’s term of “Full-Time Employee” as it relates to the mandate requiring employers to provide health care coverage for their employees. The ACA uses a formula that states an employee working at least 30 hours of service per week is full time and must count toward the 50 or more employee threshold mandatory insurance coverage provision. There are bipartisan bills in both the Senate and House to use a standard 40 hour per work week formula as a definition for full-time employee. Not only would the 40 hour definition comport with existing federal laws (such as FLSA), it would allow printing companies to base hiring and worker scheduling decisions on operational and economic needs rather than on how these decisions impact health care mandates and penalties. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) are leading the effort in the Senate. In the House, legislation authored by Rep. Todd Young (R-IN-9) and Rep. Daniel Lapinski (D-IL-3) has been introduced.
- Repeal of the “Health Insurance Tax.” Starting on January 1, 2014, health insurance companies must pay a new tax on coverage they provide to individuals, families, small and mid-sized employers, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries and state Medicaid managed care programs. The health insurance tax is larger than the medical device tax, which is the ACA tax most recently in the headlines and currently part of the fiscal standoff. The head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has stated that the health insurance tax will be “largely passed through to consumers in the form of higher premiums.” The Joint Committee on Taxation found that “eliminating this fee could decrease the average family premium in 2016 by $350 to $400.” Legislation has been introduced in both the House (H.R. 763) by Dr. Charles Boustany (R-LA-3) and Rep Jim Matheson (D-UT-4) and in the Senate (S. 603) by Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) to repeal the health insurance tax. Printing Industries has joined the Affordable Coverage Project, a cross-industry employer and insurance coalition, to push back against this tax and call for Congress to repeal it. In September, the coalition launched a series of digital and print ads in Washington, DC publications and key markets nationwide. Our campaign moves next to Capitol Hill.
- Repeal of the Employer Mandate. Earlier this year, the White House announced a one-year delay of the ACA provision that would force printing companies with more than 50 full-time employees to provide prescribed health insurance policies or pay fines. The delay was welcomed by Printing Industries of America and the business community, particularly due to the uncertainty surrounding regulations and implementation guidelines. However, it is still part of the law. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Dr. Charles Boustany (R-LA-3) have long been champions of legislation to repeal this provision. Printing Industries of America continues to support repealing the mandate and replacing it with more market-driven legislation, such as the expansion of Health Savings Accounts.
Member Resources on ACA Implementation
As Printing Industries of America works on the above improvements to the ACA, we are committed to providing resources to our members so they will better understand the massive law’s new requirements. Please visit www.printing.org/hr to gain access to HR Updates, relevant news, and resources such as the top ten list of issues that printers need to be aware of regarding the upcoming implementation of Affordable Care Act.
If you have a question about any of the issues above or other government affairs-related concerns please feel free to contact us at email@example.com or (202) 730-7970.