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House Republicans Reiterate Concerns Over Treatment of Unions Under ACA

Monday, December 9, 2013
By Kristen Ricaurte Knebel

Dec. 6 --House Republicans once again are demanding information from the Obama administration on what they say are its intentions to provide special treatment under the Affordable Care Act for Taft-Hartley plans, also known as multiemployer plans.

“Over the past several months, there have been reports the administration is considering various deals to placate union leaders' concerns regarding PPACA, including allowing millions of individuals in Taft-Hartley plans to receive preferential treatment not available to other Americans who have employer-provided health insurance,” Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), chairman of the panel's Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee, said in a Dec. 3 letter to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The letter once again brought up concerns over an obscure part of final rules issued Oct. 24 by the HHS's Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on the financial integrity and oversight standards for the health insurance marketplaces, or exchanges, created under the ACA .

The final rules stated that CMS intends “to propose in future rulemaking to exempt certain self-insured, self-administered plans from the requirement to make reinsurance contributions for the 2015 and 2016 benefit years.”

In their letter to the HHS, the Republican lawmakers said, “Most self-insured employers do not self-administer their plans. However, it is our understanding many self-insured Taft-Hartley plans are self-administered. The administration appears to be attempting to shield unions from the ramifications of PPACA.”

The letter requested that the HHS provide various pieces of information to the committee by Dec. 17, including “all legal analyses, documents, and communications” related to the writing of the final rules released on Oct. 24. In addition, the committee would like all legal analyses conducted by the HHS or provided to the agency relating to the treatment of Taft-Hartley plans under the ACA, the letter said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kristen Ricaurte Knebel in Washington at kknebel@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Kushin at pkushin@bna.com

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