Today, the House of Representatives passed (217 to 213) legislation to revise the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known also as Obamacare. As we have often reported, businesses with less than 50 employees are not subject to the provisions of the ACA. However, as individuals, business owners and employees are required to follow it.
If it becomes law, what would the legislation approved by the House mean for small businesses?
The legislation stops short of eliminating the 2010 health-care law. However, if passed in its current form, it would make a significant dent in large portions of the current law, including:
- States, rather than the federal government, would have the power to set important health insurance rules.
- It would end the ACA’s subsidies for most people who buy health plans through marketplaces created under the law.
- It would rescind several taxes that have helped pay for Obamacare, including ones imposed on Americans with high incomes, health insurers, medical devices and tanning salons.
The legislation must now go to the Senate where it will face a new round of challenges. For example, the last-minute wrangling to get a bill approved by the House meant the vote took place before being “scored” by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) — Congress’s official scorekeeper — on how much the bill would cost and how many people would receive health-care coverage.
The Senate cannot review the legislation and determine the rules of debate until the CBO submits its official estimate. That scoring could set off more rounds of intra-party debates among Republicans. For example, GOP senators from states that have expanded Medicaid under the ACA have voiced concerns about rollbacks to that program included in the House bill.
See also on SmallBusiness.com