Capitol Hill

Two attempts at common sense

On Jan. 1, 2016, the employer-related provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) finally will be fully implemented. On that date, employers with 50 or more "full-time equivalent employees" as defined in the law will be required to provide affordable health care benefits to their employees or pay a penalty to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). With this final implementation step completed, the ACA will affect many more NRCA members.

It still is unclear whether the ACA will be successful with making health care benefits affordable and expanding coverage to more uninsured persons at an acceptable cost to taxpayers. What will happen in the long term to the ACA largely will be determined by the perceived success of the law among voters and the outcome of the 2016 elections.

In the near term, it is clear President Obama will not accept any major changes to his signature legislative achievement. As a result, NRCA is focused on urging Congress to adopt modest changes to the ACA that will reduce potential adverse effects of the law on employers and employees, such as losing current health plans or experiencing large premium increases. Specifically, NRCA supports two bills that would implement small changes in the ACA that would benefit employers and employees who receive coverage through their employment.

The first bill