Senate Unveils Health Care Reform Bill, Outcome Remains Uncertain

Senate Slowly Moves Closer to Ending Health Care Debate
Today, Senate Republicans unveiled their much anticipated version of health care reform several months after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Despite today’s action, the past six months of heated and contentious negotiations among Republicans and the administration on the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is bound to continue. Today’s announcement is one step closer to disposing of the health care debate in Congress so focus can shift towards other AGC priorities such as advancing infrastructure investment and tax reform.
AGC opposed the ACA because we did not believe that it created a framework to reduce health care costs, but instead increased new compliance and complexity problems for employers. AGC’s quick read of the Senate version shows it is designed to reduce complexity and compliance problems for employers and help reduce the cost of health care so employers can maintain and expand the health care benefits they offer their employees. AGC has long supported the employer-provided health care model while, at the same time, ensuring that it is easy and affordable for employers to provide coverage to their employees. AGC supports increased flexibility for construction employers to allow them the ability to expand coverage to their employees, while limiting the financial hardships of purchasing health care services and the repealing of onerous taxes will lead to health insurance premium savings. While the bill does repeal most of the ACA tax increases, it only delays the Cadillac tax until 2026 due to procedural restrictions in Congress. AGC would like to see health care reform repeal all the Obamacare taxes not just some of them.
A vote in the Senate could occur as early as next week. The bill is likely to change prior to that happening. AGC will continue to compare the repeal bills against AGC policy priorities and advocate for additional reforms.
For more information, contact Jim Young at youngj@agc.org or (202) 547-0133.


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