Washington, D.C., June 19, 2014 – The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) is pleased to announce that Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) will jointly receive CAHC’s first annual Affordability Champion Award for their bipartisan leadership in repealing the small group deductible cap, a provision of the Affordable Care Act. The Award honors members of Congress for holding down health costs through bipartisan, commonsense solutions.
The repeal was included in H.R. 4302, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (P.L. 113-93), which became law on April 2, 2014. The Act codifies an administrative determination by the Obama administration that implementation of the small group cap was impracticable.
Joel White, President of the Council for Affordable Health Coverage, made the following statement in the historic Ways and Means Committee Library:
“We commend Congressmen Reed and Thompson for breaking partisan taboos to tackle a dysfunctional aspect of the ACA that, if implemented, would have driven up premiums and harmed millions of small businesses and workers. Achieving this reform seven months before the mid-terms was, politically, a steep hill to climb, but thanks to Congressmen Reed and Thompson, bipartisanship and common sense prevailed.”
The Affordable Care Act capped the maximum deductible for small group health plans at $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families. This limit applied only to employers with fewer than 50 workers, however; policies issued to large employers and individuals were unaffected. This year, only about a third of small employers chose plans with deductibles lower than the ACA’s caps. An analysis prepared for CAHC by Avalere, an economic consultancy, found that at least 27 percent of covered workers would have seen their premiums rise as a result of the cap.
White added, “Americans know from hard experience that in health care there is no such thing as a free lunch. If you mandate lower deductibles, premiums will rise. Lifting the law’s discriminatory small employer deductible caps is a modest, but important step to spare small businesses and their employees unnecessary plan disruptions and premium hikes.”
The new law protects against erosion in employer sponsored coverage and save taxpayers money. Avalere estimated that repeal of the caps would translate into 56,000 fewer workers receiving government subsidies on the ACA’s exchanges, saving taxpayers $1.2 billion over ten years.
The Council for Affordable Health Coverage is a broad-based association of organizations representing consumers, physicians, small businesses, large employers, manufacturers and retailers, franchises, insurers, brokers and agents dedicated to the principle that health coverage should be affordable for all Americans.