President Signs into Law Legislation to Prevent Premium Increases for Mid-Size Employers
October 9, 2015 04:27 PM
On Wednesday, October 7, President Barack Obama signed into law the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) Act, which maintains the existing definition of the small group market under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As NAHC Report previously stated, the change could keep premiums from rising for home health and hospice agencies with 51-100 employees that offer health insurance. The bill, which passed with overwhelming support in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, addresses concerns that expanding the small group market to employers with 51-100 employees—as previously scheduled to occur under the ACA on January 1, 2016—would have resulted in premium increases for mid-size employers. The PACE Act instead maintains the existing definition of the small group market, which only applies to employers with 50 or fewer employees.
Both the Senate and House bills had strong bipartisan support. The Senate legislation was introduced by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and Senator Jean Shaheen (D-NH). The House legislation was introduced by Congressman Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Congressman Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), and Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Following President Obama’s signing the bill, the lawmakers hailed the successful modification to the ACA.
“I’m very pleased that, in this instance, Congress rose above the partisan squabbling to make this improvement to the health care reform bill and I hope it’s a good omen for further cooperation,” said Senator Shaheen. Senator Scott said the bill being signed into law was “a great step forward in protecting small and mid-sized businesses from the harmful effects of Obamacare.”
“Since I introduced this legislation in March, I’ve heard from small businesses across the country,” said Congressman Guthrie, Vice Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee. “It was abundantly clear to me that the millions of hardworking Americans facing the looming disruption and premium spikes needed a permanent solution, not another delay. I’m pleased that President Obama recognized this huge show of bipartisan support and signed this commonsense legislation. In making the PACE Act law, business owners can plan for the future a little easier by knowing they can continue to offer their current health care plans.”
The measure is an example of both parties joining together to successfully amend a specific aspect of the ACA.