Health Reform Center
HLC’s Health Reform Center is meant to assist in keeping you up to date on all things health reform. This section contains helpful information and resources for your reference. For information on HLC’s involvement in health reform efforts, please see the various HLC Activity sections of our website, under Key Issues.
During 2013, Congress has conducted vigorous oversight of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) by holding hearings on multiple aspects of the law. Under a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, hearings have focused on how the health reform law affects jobs, consumers, the Medicare program and its beneficiaries, Medicaid, and states, among other things. In the Democratically-controlled Senate, hearings have focused on ensuring the Administration will be ready by the October 1 deadline when the biggest piece of the PPACA, the health insurance marketplaces, are implemented and open to consumers. Since 2011, the House of Representatives has voted 40 times to repeal various provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Three of those votes have been to repeal the bill in its entirety, with the latest occurring On May 16, 2013. Each time the legislation has passed but never acted upon by the U.S. Senate.
Health Reform Implementation
- On July 2, the Treasury Department announced it was delaying the employer mandate for one year.
- The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on July 17 to provide statutory authority to delay the employer mandate. The same day, the House also passed legislation to delay the individual mandate for one year.
- On October 1, the Health Insurance Marketplaces in 17 states and the District of Columbia and the Federally Facilitated exchange are scheduled to go live offering insurance coverage that will begin January 1, 2014. Seven states will have a joint state-federal partnership exchange.
Budget and Deficit Reduction
- Desire to achieve a bipartisan fundamental entitlement reform proposal seems to have slowed in Congress, despite continued work by the Committee on Ways and Means as well as outside entities including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Moment of Truth Project. Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate passed their own versions of an FY 2014 budget. They have yet to go to conference to resolve their difference and consequently are operating under their own respective budgets with regard to their allocations for funding the 12 annual appropriations bills. The Senate budget assumes repeal of the sequester and the House budget keeps sequestration in place. Congress will not finish all 13 Appropriations bills by the end of the fiscal year on September 30. They will have to consider a short-term continuing resolution that could include a proposal to defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The issue has divided Republicans. The Continuing Resolution is expected to continue the 2 percent sequester that went into effect earlier this year.
- On July 11, the House Ways and Means Committee put forward two modest Medicare reform proposals that includes three policies that were included in President Obama’s FY2014 budget: increasing the Part B deductible for new enrollees, increasing income-related premiums under Parts B and D and establishing a new home health copay.
- On July 11, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved FY 2014 Labor, Health and Human Services funding bill which included $13.6 billion more funding over FY 2013 enacted levels. The House bill has yet to be taken up by the Appropriations Committee but is expected to have funding levels reduced by $28 billion according to its 302(b) allocation.
Tools and Helpful Links:
- The Affordable Care Act Key Provisions and Status
- The federal government has created a website to provide comprehensive information about health reform implementation at www.healthcare.gov
Other health reform implementation specific resources have been developed by organizations. They include:
Kaiser Family Foundation’s Health Reform Source
The Commonwealth fund’s Health Reform Center
The Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center
National Governors Association
National Conference of State Legislatures