1. Following the numerous false starts from Congressional Republicans on health care, President Donald Trump released an executive order (EO) entitled. “Promoting Health Care Choice and Competition Across the United States.” The EO creates a structure to rescind the subsidies offered to insurance companies nationwide. The EO also allows small employers to band together from across the country to create “association health plans” and buy insurance together outside of Obamacare. This presidential action was then immediately followed by a new proposal offered by the chairs of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA). Although long awaited, the Alexander-Murray bill does not appear to have clear support at this time by the Senate or the White House.
NECA’s Look Ahead: As the fight over health care spills into the next phase of President Trump’s agenda, tax reform, Congress is considering how to address the healthcare taxes imposed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The most recent House and Senate negotiating package of ACA tax delays is expected to include delays for the medical device and health insurance taxes, but does NOT currently include a delay of the 40 percent Cadillac Tax on NECA health plans. NECA is adamantly urging policy makers and contacting offices individually to include a delay of the Cadillac Tax, which is currently scheduled to go into effect in 2020.
Take action today by contacting your senators and representative and urging them to include a delay of the Cadillac tax in their current efforts to address the ACA’s healthcare taxes!
2. The Senate passed the budget, H. Con. Res. 71, the FY2018 budget resolution late Thursday night in a 51-49 vote. Now that the measure has passed, Congressional Republicans have a new legislative vehicle to move tax reform forward under the reconciliation process, meaning that they will only need a simple majority in the Senate and House.
NECA’s Look Ahead: Republicans in both chambers will have to form a conference committee to resolve the differences in each chamber’s bill. After that, the House and Senate would each vote on the agreement. President Trump is calling on House Republicans to adopt the Senate budget as is, without the conference committee, in order to fast track tax reform.
3. On October 12, the House passed the Senate version of H.R.2266 - Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017, in a 353 to 69 vote. The bill will provide $36.5 billion for Hurricane and Wildfire Aid, $18.7 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster relief fund, $16 billion to address the national flood insurance program debt, $576.5 million for wildfire recovery efforts, and $1.27 billion for disaster food assistance for Puerto Rico.
NECA’s Look Ahead: Both Chambers are currently resolving technical differences in the bill this week, but the bill is expected to be signed into law by the President. This legislation is critical for the rebuilding effort for the areas that have been affected by the recent natural disasters.