On Monday, April 1, 2019, President Donald Trump stated in a series of tweets that a vote on a Republican Party (GOP) replacement health care plan for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) won’t take place until after the 2020 elections.
President Trump’s tweets stated that the ACA’s deductibles and premiums are “far too high” and that a replacement is needed. He continued to state that the GOP’s replacement plan for the ACA will have “far lower premiums (cost) [and] deductibles” and will be “much more usable.” He also affirmed that the GOP’s plan would support those with pre-existing conditions.
These tweets came one week after the president directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to support a federal court ruling that the ACA is unconstitutional.
On March 25, 2019, the DOJ filed a letter with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals agreeing with the lower court’s Dec. 14, 2018, ruling in Texas v. Azar. This means that the DOJ believes the lower court’s ruling should stand, and the ACA should be struck down as unconstitutional due to the elimination of the individual mandate in 2019.
While the recent developments may seem like major health care change is on the horizon, employers and employees can expect things to remain the same for the time being. The court ruling invalidating the ACA is currently being appealed, and industry experts anticipate that the Supreme Court will likely take up the case, meaning that a final decision won’t be seen until then.
As such, all existing ACA provisions will continue to be applicable and enforced. Although the individual mandate penalty will be reduced to zero beginning in 2019, employers and individuals must continue to comply with all other applicable ACA requirements.
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