If the ACA is to be repealed in the near future many steps remain and the final outcome is still unknown. Notably, the following steps stand between a repeal (and potential replacement) of the ACA and the current law:
- The House has to draft the repeal bill
- The House has to vote on the repeal bill
- The House has to send the repeal bill back to the Senate
- The Senate has to debate the repeal bill and potentially make amendments
- The Senate has to vote on the repeal
- President Trump has to sign the repeal
It is still uncertain what the repeal might look like, and what could replace the ACA. Media reports are citing that top priorities for Republicans change by the day, and sometimes by the hour. The only constants seem to be:
- Desire to see an increased reliance on consumer-driven health care and health savings accounts (HSAs) in some way or another, and potentially relaxing requirements on how HSAs are used.
- The ability to purchase insurance across state lines is also commonly touted as a desired outcome.
- Some support for continuing to prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions, and to require employers to cover dependents up to age 26.
In the coming weeks and potentially months, it is important to remember that unless the ACA is fully repealed, or until the heads of federal agencies signal otherwise, employers should continue complying with applicable requirements of the ACA. Nothing is certain, and employers who assume the requirements will be lifted could find themselves at risk for penalties, prosecution, or civil litigation.
This information is general and is provided for educational purposes only. It reflects Austin & Co.’s and UBA’s understanding of the available guidance as of the date shown and is subject to change. It is not intended to provide legal advice. You should not act on this information without consulting legal counsel or other knowledgeable advisors.