On the eve of the 2014 tax filing deadline, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Ways & Means Subcommittee on Health held a hearing to examine the individual and employer responsibility requirements included in the Affordable Care Act. CHIR’s own Sabrina Corlette was an invited witness, along with Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum and Scott Womack, an owner of Popeye’s franchises in Kansas City.
For those who missed the hearing, a large part of the discussion centered on whether or not the ACA is working for consumers, employers, and the economy as a whole. In her testimony, Sabrina Corlette highlighted how, on just about every dimension, the ACA is meeting its objectives, with an unprecedented drop in uninsured (down to 11.9 percent from 18 percent just two years ago), 16.4 million people newly enrolled in high quality coverage, and health care cost growth held to the slowest rate in decades.
For their part, majority witnesses Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Scott Womack discussed some of the burdens that the ACA places on employers who don’t offer coverage and individuals who don’t maintain coverage. Mr. Holtz-Eakin also encouraged the Committee to consider proposed alternatives to the individual mandate, including a requirement that individuals maintain continuous coverage in order to avoid discrimination based on their health status.
Although there were some “partisan fireworks,” a few Committee members identified possible areas of bipartisan cooperation, including proposed bills to reduce the reporting requirements for employers offering health coverage and permit small employers to offer health reimbursement accounts to help employees pay for plans in the individual market.
For more on the Subcommittee’s hearing visit the Ways & Means Committee’s website.