Below are key health care reform developments from the week of May 22nd.
- CBO/JCT Estimate for AHCA Released. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) released an updated cost estimate for the American Health Care Act (“AHCA”). The latest estimate considered the AHCA as passed by the House of Representatives on May 4, 2017. See our May 26, 2017 blog entry for a summary of key findings in the CBO/JCT report.
- AHCA Add-On Legislation. The House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee released three new pieces of legislation that would modify the AHCA – the Broader Options for Americans Act (“BOA Act”), the Veterans Equal Treatment Ensures Relief and Access Now Act “Veterans Act”), and the Verify First Act (the “Verify Act”). The BOA Act would modify the AHCA by allowing individuals enrolled in unsubsidized COBRA coverage to receive a tax credit. This feature was in the draft AHCA that was first released in March but was not included in the AHCA as passed on May 4th. The Veterans Act would codify existing Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations and amend the AHCA to permit veterans to choose health coverage provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs or private health coverage eligible for a tax credit. The Verify Act would require relevant government agencies to first verify that a person is a citizen or legally within the US before awarding a premium subsidy to that person.
- Contraceptive Coverage Opt-Out Regs Coming. The Office of Management and Budget indicated last week that it is reviewing “interim final regulations” regarding religious-based objections to contraceptive coverage. The ACA requires that health plans treat contraceptives as preventive care, and thus, cover contraceptives without cost-sharing. Exceptions have been made for religious institutions and private companies objecting to the mandate on religious grounds. The key issues are the procedures these organizations must follow to opt-out of the mandate and whether employees of the organizations will be able to obtain free contraceptives through other means.