Late yesterday, the U.S. Senate Republicans approved a tax bill, by a vote of 51-48. This bill was previously approved by the U.S. House by a vote of 227-203. As the bill must be identical in both chambers, this bill now heads back to the U.S. House to correct three provisions. One of these provisions is the actual name of the bill. The Senate version’s short title, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” must be known as “An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to titles II and V of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018,”… Read more
In the U.S. House, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ( H.R. 1) (the Act) was approved by a vote of 227-205 yesterday. The legislation lowers the top corporate rate of 35 percent to a flat 20 percent. On the individual side, the bill would collapse the existing seven income tax brackets to four with rates of 12 percent, 25 percent, 35 percent, and 39.6 percent, and would roughly double the standard deduction. The Act would also limit home mortgage interest deductions, cap state, and local property tax deductions and eliminate deductions for other state and local taxes, and double the… Read more
Over the past few weeks, the U.S. House and Senate have been working independently on tax bills. While these bills have included some health care related changes, the latest version of the Senate bill now includes the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. This addition provides funding for the tax breaks included in the bill and will allow the Senate Republicans to eliminate at least a small portion of the ACA. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) previously estimated that eliminating the individual mandate will reduce the federal deficit by about $338 billion over the 2018–2027 period. However, eliminating… Read more
Late yesterday, the White House stated that it would immediately stop the funding for billions of dollars in Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies. The explanation is that, based on guidance from the Justice Department, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has determined there is no appropriation for the payments and the government can’t lawfully make the payments. HHS was more specific, saying the payments “will be discontinued immediately” and citing a legal opinion from Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “We believe that the last Administration overstepped the legal boundaries drawn by our Constitution,” acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan and Seema Verma,… Read more
President Trump Takes Steps When Senate Won’t President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order that potentially weakens the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As quoted by the White House Press Office “The time has come to give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines, which will create a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring costs way down and provide far better care.” Association Health Plans The Order is intended to allow employers to join together to form “association health plans” that can cross state lines. The Order also calls for expanded availability for lower cost, short-term policies, and increased use of… Read more
Republicans are making a last “gasp” effort to pass “repeal and replace” legislation in the Senate, before the “reconciliation” clock runs out. A new health care “repeal and replace” bill, introduced by Sens. Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy, (R-La.), and others will be slated for a vote next week. This bill, like earlier Senate versions, would repeal the employer and individual mandate, and eliminate others taxes such as the medical device tax. It’s most controversial provision relates to how the Medicaid expansion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the states’ premium support subsidies will be allocated. The bill provides… Read more
Efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act(ACA) advanced in the Senate today, as Republicans voted to open debate on the controversial legislation. It was a 51-50 vote, with Vice President Mike Pence casting a tiebreaker.