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GOP’s Obamacare overhaul would end mandatory coverage

The long-awaited Republican proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act includes a provision that immediately ends a requirement that businesses offer coverage to their workers.

The legislation also would end a requirement that individuals buy insurance coverage.

Responding to leading business groups, House GOP leaders also dropped plans to begin taxing health benefits that are provided by employers, a proposal that was widely criticized. Business groups had warned that taxing employer health benefits would cause employers to terminate coverage and prompt employees to drop out of those plans.

Here’s what else is in the proposal:

  • The House legislation still eliminates major taxes in the current law, however, including levies on insurance companies and medical device makers and a tax on families making more than $250,000 a year.
  • It would replace income-based subsidies with an advanceable, refundable tax credit to help individuals buy insurance. The credit starts at $2,000 per person and grows to $4,000 with age. A family could get as much as $14,000 in total a year.
  • The plan also would expand the allowable size of health-care savings accounts that can be coupled with high-deductible insurance plans, up to $6,550 for an individual or $13,100 for a family.
  • It also would allow people with pre-existing conditions to buy insurance, but requires “continuous” coverage to discourage people from buying coverage only when they get sick. Individuals who go uninsured for longer than a set period face 30 percent higher premiums as a penalty.
  • It would delay until 2025, instead of permanently repealing, a tax on high-cost health insurance plans, also known as the “Cadillac tax.”

The House Energy and Commerce committee and its Ways and Means committee were expected to move quickly, taking up the measure at hearings this week, which would then set the stage for the proposals to be merged into a final bill next week by the House Budget Committee.

About the Author

Lon Matejczyk

Lon is the former publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal and Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group.He has served in leadership roles at various newspapers in Iowa, Florida and Wisconsin. Lon received his Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire and attended the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Earlier in his career, Lon spent several years as a sea captain and held a 100-ton Coast Guard license. Lon is a former rugby player, referee and administrator and now coaches under 13 year old kids. Lon has served on the boards of numerous community and business organizations including Colorado Springs Leadership Institute, Peak Venture Group, CS Quality of Life Indicators Business Index Committee, Junior Achievement and is a member of The Colorado Thirty Group.  Lon was given the “Making the Pikes Peak region a better place to live work and play” award by the CS Chamber of Commerce, was the VFW Post 1’s business citizen of the year.

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