Health Care Bill Passes House by Narrow Margin

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By Michael Trimarchi and Christine Pulfrey

A bill to replace the Affordable Care Act that would eliminate the need by employers to calculate whether they had at least 50 full-time equivalent employees in a year and repeal most taxes under the law was passed May 4 by the House by a 217-213 vote.

The measure, which was pulled before a House vote March 24, now moves to the Senate.

Under the American Health Care Act of 2017 ( H.R. 1628), employers providing health insurance for any month of the year are to report certain information to the IRS on Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. The information is to include the policy premiums paid, the amount of advance payments made on behalf of an employee and the months the insurance was applicable to the employee.

Penalties for applicable large employers that do not offer sufficient health coverage to full-time employees and dependents would be eliminated under the measure, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2016. Employers no longer would need to calculate whether they had at least 50 full-time equivalent employees in a year, which under the ACA causes them for the next year to be applicable large employers.

Under the measure, for 2018, the limit for self-only coverage would increase to $6,550, up from $3,400 for 2017, and the limit for family coverage would increase to $13,100, up from $6,750 for 2017. Applicability of an excise tax of 40 percent on employer-sponsored benefits from certain high-cost health plans, also known as the “Cadillac” tax, would be delayed to Jan. 1, 2025, from the current effective date of Jan. 1, 2020.

The final vote tally for H.R. 1628 of 217-to-213 was composed of 217 Republican representatives who supported passage and 193 Democrats and 20 Republicans who did not support passage. One representative did not vote.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Trimarchi at mtrimarchi@bna.com

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