Senator Baldwin and Representitive Kind Send Letter to HHS Secretary on the ACA's Employer Mandate;
Seek Relief for Medicaid Home and Community-Based Providers
June 23, 2014 12:52 PM
Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rep. Ron Kind, (R-WI) recently sent a bipartisan, bicameral letter to Sylvia Matthews Burwell, the new Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), on the subject of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) Employer Mandate. Specifically, the letter sent by Senator Baldwin and Rep. Kind focuses on the negative affect that the Employer Mandate has on, "Medicaid dependent home and community-based providers."
The letter continues to highlight the unique circumstances that are facing Medicaid dependent providers of home and community-based care stating that:
"These providers…which serve primarily Medicaid beneficiaries and operate on very slim margins, have raised unique concerns about complying with the ACA's employer responsibility requirements. We…request that you explore options to assist Medicaid dependent home and community-based providers in fulfilling the ACA's employer requirements…
We are concerned that Medicaid dependent home and community-based providers could face significant financial burdens in complying with the employer responsibility requirements in the ACA. The penalty for failing to provide health coverage to full-time employees would disproportionally affect these providers and their direct care workers, which may result in unemployment and reduced payment access to essential services…[W]e urge you to continue to work with relevant stakeholders to find a viable solution to ensure that direct care workers can continue to provide vulnerable patients with home and community-based services under the ACA."
The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) has been advocating for a delay in the ACA employer mandate because it is obvious that state Medicaid programs will not be ready to address this new obligation that home care providers must face. While a simple solution would be to raise payment rates to cover health insurance costs, this is not likely to occur.
Among the various actions NAHC has underway in this advocacy effort is to get CMS to hold a Medicaid Home Care Summit on the topic of the ACA Employer Mandate to explore any and all solutions. NAHC has been working with a broad coalition of stakeholders on this effort.
To read the full letter sent by Senator Baldwin and Rep. Kind, please click here.
To urge Congress to modify the ACA employer obligations to address home care specific needs, go to the NAHC Legislative Action Network: Write Your Legislators.