70% of House Supports Repealing the Cadillac Tax

Three hundred members of the House of Representatives signed on to legislation to repeal the Cadillac tax. Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH) introduced H.R. 879, and Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) introduced H.R. 2050. The number of cosponsors signifies that nearly 70% of members in the House support the effort to repeal the Cadillac Tax. Congressman Frank Guinta (R-NH) said, “One way or another, the Cadillac Tax will meet its end. Three hundred cosponsors of legislation to permanently ax the tax is a milestone.”

The Cadillac Tax is a 40% tax on the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage that exceeds certain benefit thresholds – initially, $10,800 for self-only coverage and $29,100 for family coverage in 2020. More than just premiums are counted when determining the cost of the plan. The cost of wellness programs, on-site clinics and other plan features designed to reduce plan expenses are also included, so virtually everyone in an employer-sponsored plan would be affected. James Klein, president of the American Benefits Council, said “This tax does not just affect high value plans. It will hit workers, retirees, and families with ordinary coverage who have the misfortune to suffer catastrophic health events or have chronic conditions that are expensive to treat.”

House Passes Medicare Advantage Bill


On June 17th, the House of Representatives passed The Strengthening Medicare Advantage through Innovation and Transparency for Seniors Act of 2015 (H.R. 2570. The bill would establish a demonstration project allowing Medicare Advantage plans to use Value-Based Insurance Design (V-BID). The concept comes from Univ. of Michigan research. Researchers found that reducing out-of-pocket costs for some high-value medical services for certain patients can improve health outcomes and reduce disparities. It may also slow the growth of health care costs. If the bill becomes law, it would allow Medicare Advantage plans to lower co-payments and coinsurance for beneficiaries, encouraging the use of high-value, evidence-based medical services to manage chronic conditions. It prevents plans from increasing beneficiary cost sharing on any service.

The legislation was originally introduced by U.S. Reps. Diane Black (R-TN), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). The bipartisan companion bill, the Value-Based Insurance Design Seniors Copayment Reduction Act of 2015 (S.1396), was introduced to the Senate on May 20th by U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Thune (R-SD). In addition to the Capitol Hill activity, V-BID was included in a recent Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Request for Information to Innovate Medicare. Numerous private and public payers have implemented V-BID programs.

House Passes Medicare Advantage Bill

On June 17th, the House of Representatives passed The Strengthening Medicare Advantage through Innovation and Transparency for Seniors Act of 2015 (H.R. 2570, available via umhealth.me/vbid-bill). The bipartisan legislation would establish a demonstration project allowing Medicare Advantage plans to use a principle called Value-Based Insurance Design (V-BID). The concept comes from University of Michigan research that aligns patients’ out-of-pocket costs, such as copayments, with the value of health care services.

If the bill becomes law, it would allow Medicare Advantage plans to lower copayments and coinsurance for beneficiaries, encouraging the use of high-value, evidence-based medical services to better manage chronic conditions. It prevents plans from increasing beneficiary cost sharing on any service. The legislation was originally introduced by U.S. Reps. Diane Black (R-TN), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).

The bipartisan companion bill, the Value-Based Insurance Design Seniors Copayment Reduction Act of 2015 (S.1396), was introduced to the Senate on May 20th by U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Thune (R-SD). In addition to the Capitol Hill activity, V-BID was included in a recent Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Request for Information to Innovate Medicare. To date, V-BID programs have been implemented by numerous private and public payers, employers, unions, and business coalitions nationwide. The accumulating evidence validates a central V-BID premise that reducing out-of-pocket costs for selected high-value medical services for certain patients can improve health outcomes, reduce disparities and potentially slow the growth of health care costs.

AMAC Applauds the SAVE Medicare Home Healthcare Act

The Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) is applauding the Securing Access Via Excellence (SAVE) Medicare Home Health Act, which was introduced in the House. It provides relief to American seniors who are at risk due to Medicare cuts of 14% to home health services. The Act achieves the same level of Medicare savings as the Obamacare cuts by creating a program to reduce hospital readmissions through incentives for positive patient outcomes. The goals is to allow mature Americans to remain in their homes. AMAC says that Obamacare’s Medicare home health cut will force thousands of small businesses to close, costing nearly 500,000 home health professionals to lose their jobs. AMAC says these cuts affect the Medicare population’s most vulnerable demographic — older, sicker and poorer mature Americans.  Some will be forced to seek care in an institutional setting, driving up patient and Medicare costs and putting patients at risk for poorer health outcomes. For more information, visitwww.amac.us/medicarecuts.

Delaying the Individual Mandate Would Reduce the Deficit

A House bill to delay Obamacare’s individual mandate would save $35 billion dollars, according to the Congressional Office. In July, the House passed H.R. 2668, which would delay the application of the individual health insurance mandate and the employer health insurance mandate for one year. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that enacting H.R. 2668 would reduce federal deficits by roughly $36 billion from 2014 to 2018 and by roughly $35 billion from 2014 to 2023. For more information, visit http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44551

Subcommittee Examines Health Insurance Tax

The House Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology Chairman Chris Collins (NY-27) led a hearing to examine the economic effects of the upcoming health care law’s insurance tax on small businesses. Beginning in 2014, the health care law imposes a new tax on the health insurance policies that most small businesses purchase. The tax will be $8 billion in 2014, will increase to $14.3 billion in 2018, and increase based on premium trends after that.

Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau in Elba, NY said, “Health insurance costs for small businesses are already rapidly trending higher, increasing 103% since 2000. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the health insurance tax will further increase family premiums by $400 or 2.5% in the year 2016, making it even harder for farmers to purchase coverage for themselves, their families and their employees.”

Last Updated 01/19/2022

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