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April 11, 2011
In This Issue
Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Deal Complete
Moving on to Fiscal Year 2012
Finally 1099 Repeal
Employers Express Opinions at Auto Enrollment Forum
NAIC Moves Forward with MLR Study
This Week in Washington
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Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Deal Complete

Congress and President Obama came to an agreement on Friday night to fund the federal government through the remainder of fiscal year 2011 (until September 30, 2011) just before a government shutdown would have gone into effect at midnight. While the negotiations did not yield approval of very many of the “defund PPACA” amendments included in the original House-passed budget proposal, it is being reported that the negotiation will result in a significant change to PPACA that is supported by NAHU. The long-term budget agreement will eliminate the “employee free choice” voucher proposal that was the brain-child of Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). This provision of PPACA would have taken effect in 2014 and allowed hundreds of thousands of lower-income workers to opt out of employer-sponsored health plans and use the employer’s contribution to buy coverage through the newly created health insurance exchanges. Read More

Moving on to Fiscal Year 2012

On April 5, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released a budget resolution for fiscal year 2012 calling for reform of the tax code and entitlement programs as part of a larger effort to reduce the federal budget deficit. The budget resolution and its accompanying report have already received substantial criticism from both the left and the right, but at the same time have been widely heralded as the beginning of a frank policy debate on America’s fiscal plan for the future. President Obama is expected to unveil his alternative proposal on April 13. There has been much speculation on how President Obama will tackle this issue, as he has been accused of failing to lead from both sides of the aisle. His plan will likely draw from the bipartisan deficit commission’s report, which was released last year (Representative Ryan was a member). Read More

Finally 1099 Repeal

Last Tuesday, the Senate voted 87-12 to approve H.R. 4, which would repeal expanded 1099 reporting requirements included in PPACA and the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. The Senate voted 41-58 to reject an amendment by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) related to the offset provision included in H.R. 4. Read More

Employers Express Opinions at Auto Enrollment Forum

Last week the federal Department of Labor (DOL) held an open forum meeting on the health plan auto enrollment provisions in PPACA for employer groups of 200 or more. The meeting was comprised of three panel discussions with employer representatives on each panel. Besides the panel discussions, one of the key pieces of information revealed at the meeting was that the Department of Treasury will soon issue a Notice for Comment on the employer mandate requirements in PPACA. The administration stated that they are especially interested in suggestions related to the definition of full-time employee. The notice will also invite comment on the interaction with wait periods and provisions overseen by other agencies. NAHU will provide detailed comments on both of these issues as soon as the notice is released. Read More

NAIC Moves Forward with MLR Study

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners held two teleconferences last week in an effort to move forward with its data collection regarding the impact of PPACA’s medical loss ratio provisions on health insurance producer compensation. The NAIC’s Professional Health Insurance Advisors (EX) Taskforce voted during its March meeting to direct the group’s Health Insurance and Managed Care (B) Committee to study this issue. The committee was asked to report back in four weeks, so that they could move forward with a proposed resolution to support H.R. 1206, Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI) and John Barrow’s (D-GA) bipartisan bill to remove independent producer compensation from the MLR calculation. Read More

This Week in Washington

With the budget crisis resolved, health care reform will once again be a top priority on Capitol Hill. Here's what's happening this week: Read More

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