UBP blog

11/10/2009

House of Representatives votes to pass the Affordable Health Care for America Act bill

By a vote of 220-215, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act bill.  This 1,990 page bill was created by merging separate health bills produced by the House Energy and Commerce, Education and Labor, and Ways and Means committees. It passed with the support of 219 Democrats and one Republican.

Here’s what the bill will do (among other things):

  • Require health insurers to sell coverage on a guaranteed issue, mostly community-rated basis.
  • Impose a 5.4% surtax on individuals with annual incomes over $500,000 and couples with annual incomes over $1 million. (This measure is designed to help the government pay for health insurance subsidies.)
  • Require all but the smallest businesses to choose between offering employees health insurance and paying an 8% payroll tax.
  • Set an annual cap of $2,500 to the amount employees can contribute to their FSAs (This cap will be adjusted for inflation as the years go on)
  • Cut Medicare provider reimbursement rates as well as support for Medicare Advantage plans

Now that the House of Representatives has passed their bill, the ball is in the Senate’s court for health care reform legislation.  The Senate is still in the process of combining drafts from the Finance Committee and Health, Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

As overall progress towards a final health care reform bill moves along and the Senate works to pass their own bill, we’ll certainly keep you posted.

 

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