Well, the mid-year elections are finally over – much to the relief of many of us, I’m sure. Not only are we free from being bombarded by the constant political ads and having our mailboxes stuffed with campaign propaganda, er, literature, we also have at least some answer to the question, “What’s going to happen next?”
While we don’t have all the answers, we do know that Republicans have gained control of the House, while it looks like Democrats have hung on to their majority in the Senate. We also know that many Republicans based their campaigns on promises of overturning the health care reform law. So, we are likely to see attempts to repeal or change portions of the law. Democrats, including President Obama, have even indicated they are open to making some changes.
With some of the things being said in the media, I wouldn’t be surprised if the general public had the impression that health care reform is up for immediate repeal with the GOP success at the polls. There probably will be some changes, but complete repeal of the reform law is unlikely and any changes would be far from immediate. Proposed changes will be subject to the same legislative process the initial law had to undergo and are at risk of being vetoed by President Obama if they do make it through Congress.
Based on news reports, including a Nov. 4 article in the New York Times, the following health care reform provisions are likely candidates for revision or repeal attempts:
- The requirement for business to report payments in excess of $600 on a Form 1099
- The employer responsibility provisions, which provide that employers can face penalties for not providing a certain level of health coverage to employees
- The individual responsibility requirement, which imposes penalties on individuals who do not obtain coverage
- The Cadillac Plan tax on high-cost, employer-sponsored health plans
- The tax on manufacturers of medical devices
- Certain cuts to Medicare
The consumer protections that are beginning to take effect are less likely to be changed – Republicans have indicated that they might want to keep the parts of the law that are popular with the general public.
Of course, we are keeping close tabs on anything that might develop on this front and will pass that information on to you. Check out Broker Briefcase for a Legislative Brief on this topic that you can share with your clients and prospects.