With tax reform done, employer groups look for ACA mandate relief

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With final Congressional passage of the massive tax overhaul that includes repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, the American Benefits Council urged Congress to follow with approval of legislation to prevent market destabilization and provide relief from employer mandates.

In a statement following the final vote, American Benefits Council President James A. Klein commended the authors for avoiding changes to tax incentives for companies that provide health benefit plans.

But he called for quick action on legislation to delay implementation of the 40% so-called Cadillac tax on the most expensive employer-sponsored health insurance plans, provide relief from the ACA’s employer mandate penalties and reporting requirements and take other action to prevent the expected fallout from individuals fleeing the marketplace.

“… We have set forth a number of critically important measures lawmakers need to address, to support employer-sponsored health coverage,” Klein said in statement. “We urge Congress to act on these proposals as quickly as possible.”

Many business groups as well as a coalition representing insurance companies, doctors and hospitals had called on Congressional leaders to retain the individual mandate, saying it’s repeal is expected to result in 10% premium hikes.

To minimize that expected fallout, the council and other groups are pushing for passage of a bipartisan health reform bill by Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) that would fund for two years the subsidies that reduce costs for low income individuals.

The administration has cut off making those payments because they never were explicitly appropriated by Congress.

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