Bracing for a possible end to federal subsidies for states that enroll their residents through Healthcare.gov, leading Republicans are busy preparing a legislative response to King v. Burwell should the U.S. Supreme Court strike such assistance from the Affordable Care Act.
Senate Committee on Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) reportedly have crafted a plan that would cap tax credits at up to 300% of the federal poverty level from the current 100% to 400% range.
The proposal was recently described as a spruced-up version of Hatch and Burrs 2014 plan with former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). As many as 10 million Americans in 37 states could be affected by the widely anticipated ruling, which is expected late June.
Other highlights of the expected legislation include limiting tax exclusions on employer-provided health insurance to $12,000 for individual coverage and $30,000 for family coverage, dismantling Medicaid expansion under the ACA in favor of state grants and allowing consumers to purchase health plans across state lines, according to The Washington Times.
The newspaper also reported that individuals with pre-existing medical conditions who switch plans would not be charged more as long as theyve had insurance for at least 18 months and uninsured Americans would qualify for a one-time enrollment period and be shielded from higher premiums associated with medical underwriting.
Also see: Senate probes ACA tax credit problems
Similar efforts are already afoot. For example, while Sen. Ron Johnsons (R-Wis.) proposal would keep Healthcare.gov subsidies intact through August 2017, it would repeal the individual mandate. His bill has 29 co-sponsors, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his four top deputies, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wy.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).
Bruce Shutan is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer.
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