Thursday, July 13, 2017

Revised BRAC follow-up

Here's a link to a law professor's take in Forbes on the revised BRAC.  The article mentions that Sen. Lindsay Graham (R SC) is submitting his own ACA repeal and replace bill that would repeal the individual and employer mandates and funnel all of the ACA funding to the States for local healthcare use.

According to a Wall Street Journal podcast, the Senate majority will be discussing the revised BRAC over the weekend while they wait for the Congressional Budget Office report. The next step is to hold a floor vote on whether to proceed with consideration of the bill.  That requires 50 votes in this case because it's a reconciliation bill. If that succeeds and the Senate majority can only afford to lose two Republican Senators on any vote, then the bill will be open for consideration of amendments followed by a final vote unless the Senate majority leadership pulls back the bill.

The FEHBlog does not know where this Republican initiative is headed.  The FEHBlog is concerned that if the initiative fails, the ACA health insurer tax may revive for 2018 (unless Congress separately addresses the issue) and thereby drive up FEHBP premiums.  If successful, this initiative, in addition to eliminating these onerous fees, would improve the offerings of consumer driven plans and allow OPM to return the flexible spending account maximum to $5000.  In the FEHBlog's view, it also would be helpful if OPM would allow carriers more flexibility in benefit design but that can be done administratively whether or not the Republican initiative passes.

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