H.R. 3522, Employee Health Care Protection Act of 2014

H.R. 3522

Employee Health Care Protection Act of 2014

Date
September 10, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Kimberly Betz

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, September 10, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 3522, the Employee Health Care Protection Act of 2014, under a rule.  H.R. 3522 was introduced by Representative Bill Cassidy (R-LA) on November 11, 2013 and has seven cosponsors.  H.R. 3522 was marked up on July 30, 2014 by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and favorably reported by a vote of 27-20.

Bill Summary

H.R. 3522 provides that health insurance coverage in the group market during calendar year 2013 may continue to be offered through calendar year 2018. The bill specifies that health insurance coverage in the group market during calendar year 2013 shall be treated as a grandfathered health plan under Section 1501(b) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for purposes of the ACA’s minimum essential coverage requirement. Finally, the bill clarifies that H.R. 3522 does not preempt state law.

Background

In a statement before the American Medical Association, the President stated “we will keep this promise to the American people: if you like your doctor you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.”[1] Yet, last fall, millions of Americans all across the nation had their health care plans cancelled despite repeated promises from the president and others that if they liked their plan, Americans would be able to keep it.  While the cancellations last fall impacted primarily those in the individual market, the employer-sponsored market is not insulated from the Affordable Care Act.[2]  Starting this fall, millions of Americans who have employer-sponsored health care insurance are expected to lose their current coverage. Insurance experts before the Energy and Commerce Committee testified that approximately 50 million American workers with fully-insured health coverage could face plan cancellations or disruptions due to Affordable Care Act requirements[3]. H.R. 3522 would allow those individuals to keep their current plans.

Actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have also estimated that approximately 65% of small businesses face a premium increase under the Affordable Care Act[4]. In addition to  preserving these health care plans for those enrolled in non-ACA compliant plans, H.R. 3522 would also allow other small businesses and their workers to choose from non-ACA compliant plans offered in 2013. This option would provide relief for workers who stand to see a premium increase based the Administration’s own analysis.

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[1] See President Obama, Remarks Before the American Medical Association, June 15, 2009.
[2] See House Committee on Energy and Commerce Fact Sheet, September 8, 2014.
[3] See Testimony of Stan Veuger, American Enterprise Institute, before the Committee on Energy and Commerce’ Subcommittee on Health, July 28, 2014.
[4] See Wall Street Journal article entitled, “Rising Premiums May Hit Small Firms”, Feb. 24, 2014.

Cost

CBO and JTC estimate that H.R 3522 as amended would reduce the deficit by $1.25 billion as they expect the share of taxable worker compensation, in the form of wages and salaries, to increase.  CBO also estimates that premiums for noncompliant ACA plans allowed under H.R. 3522 would be lower on average compared to ACA compliant plans.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.

Additional Views

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
H.R. 3522 – Employee Health Care Protection Act
(Representative Cassidy, R-LA, and 8 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 3522 because it threatens the health care security of hard working, middle class families. The Nation is experiencing the lowest rate of health care price inflation in nearly 50 years, and exceptionally slow growth in other measures of health costs, which have combined to dramatically slow the growth of small business premiums. With health care costs rising at low rates and choices for small businesses improving through the Health Insurance Marketplace, this bill would be a major step back.

H.R. 3522 would roll back the progress made because of the Affordable Care Act and would allow insurers to deploy practices such as charging businesses more when a worker has a pre‑existing condition or when it has more workers who are women than men.  The bill would allow insurers to go back to capping the amount of care that enrollees receive or to excluding coverage of proven preventive care.  The Administration supports policies that allow people to keep the health plans that they have. Its transition policies allow States and issuers to do just that.  But, policies that reverse the progress made to extend quality, affordable coverage to millions of uninsured, hardworking, middle class families are not the solution.  Rather than refighting old political battles to sabotage the health care law, the Congress should work with the Administration to improve the law and move forward.

If the President were presented with H.R. 3522, he would veto it.