Action Needed on Senate and House Bills to Delay Implementation of Employer Mandate
With less than two weeks left in the Lame Duck session, further advocacy is needed to recruit additional cosponsors before bill can get a vote in the House. Senate bill also looking for additional cosponsors
December 2, 2014 11:07 AM
NAHC is urging all of its members to ask their Senators and Representatives to support legislation that would delay the employer mandate provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) until January 1, 2016. The end of the Lame Duck session is fast approaching – meaning the window for these bills to gain support and see action before the employer mandate is scheduled to go into effect is closing.
The Senate bill offers relief for all businesses - including private home care, Medicare and Medicaid providers - while the House bill provides relief for businesses that offer services through Medicaid and Medicare. The bills – introduced in the Senate by Senators Warner (D-VA), Shaheen (D-NH), and Bagich (D-AK), and introduced in the House by Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT), are entitled the Realistic Employer Responsibility Act (S. 1330) and the Ensuring Medicaid and Medicare Access to Providers Act (H.R. 5098), respectively.
See NAHC Report, July 17, 2014 for more in-depth coverage of the House bill.
The employer mandate is scheduled to go into effect on January 1 of 2015 – less than a month away. To obtain a delay in implementing this requirement, it is imperative that NAHC members accelerate their efforts of getting more cosponsors for S. 1330 and H.R. 5098.
"The home care and hospice community is fighting many battles to ensure access to care does not diminish across the country,” said NAHC’s Vice President for Law Bill Dombi. “I urge everybody to ask their Senators and Representatives to support these bills that would offer some much needed relief from the looming employer mandate and the drastic consequences it could have on home care and hospice."
With the Senate and House currently in a “lame duck” session until early December, NAHC asks its members to take action and ask their Representatives to support S. 1330 and H.R. 5098. The “lame duck” session is the last opportunity for home care and hospice advocates to persuade their elected officials to support this important legislation during this Congress, and its last chance for a legislative delay before the Employer Mandate is scheduled to go into effect.
House leadership informed Rep. Daines that his bill will get a vote if he gets 40 cosponsors. It now has 14. For more information on the House bill, please click here.
For more information on the Senate bill, please click here.
The message NAHC wants its members to convey in support of H.R. 5098 is that Medicaid and Medicare home care employers are unique in that, unlike other employment sectors that employ low-wage workers without health insurance, they cannot simply raise the price of their services to accommodate new costs that are beyond their control.
A large coalition of groups including NAHC and its affiliate, National Council on Medicaid Home Care, have called on CMS to convene a stakeholder summit that brings together representatives from all stakeholder groups—consumers, providers, workers, and state Medicaid programs—to develop and evaluate all the potential options available that can result in health insurance coverage for the workers. While CMS has listened to these concerns, no concrete action has yet to occur. Another year delay in the employer mandate would provide much needed breathing room to allow such a summit to be convened.
To urge your Senators to cosponsor S. 1330, go here: Write Your Legislators.
To urge your Representatives to cosponsor H.R. 5098, please go here: Contact Your Elected Officials.
When calling, ask the receptionist to connect you with the staffer who handles health care issues. A link to the Dear Colleague letter Congressman Daines sent to the House inviting others to cosponsor is available here. There is no such letter currently in the Senate.
If the health staffers say they have not seen the Dear Colleague letter, offer to forward it to them.