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NAW News

Healthcare

- June 2016

Throughout the six years that have elapsed since enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Congressional Republicans have waged an unrelenting battle to repeal/de-fund/delay/alter the President’s signature first-term legislative achievement known as Obamacare. During the current 114th Congress’ first session, bipartisan agreement was reached on several NAW-supported incremental ACA reforms of substantial import to wholesaler-distributors and to the employer community generally:

  • HR 1624, Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (“PACE”) Act was enacted, repealing the ACA-mandated expansion of the small group health insurance market to newly include employers of 51 – 100 employees. Sponsored by Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY-2), Tony Cardenas (D-CA-29), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-2) and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ-9) in the House and Sens. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in the Senate, the PACE Act passed in both houses unopposed by voice vote.
     
  • HR 1314, Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 was enacted. This budget package includes repeal of the ACA auto enrollment mandate applicable to employers of 200 + employees.
     
  • S. 2029, the fiscal year 2016 omnibus appropriations and tax extenders bill was enacted. This session-ending legislative package includes a one-year pause in the application of the ACA’s premium, or health insurance tax known as the “HIT,” a two-year delay in the implementation of the ACA’s 40% excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health coverage known as the “Cadillac tax,” and a two-year moratorium on the ACA’s medical device tax.

As welcome as these legislative successes are, NAW and our allies in the employer community are continuing to work in various issue or subject matter-specific coalitions, principally the National Coalition on Benefits (NCB), and Stop the HIT Coalition, to fully repeal some of the ACA’s most serious flaws. Among the issues in the legislative mix are bills to replace the ACA’s 30 hours per week definition of “full time employee” with a 40 hours per week standard (HR 30/S. 30); to fully repeal the HIT (H.R. 928/S. 183); to fully repeal the Cadillac tax (H.R. 879, H.R. 2050, S. 2045, S. 2075) and to protect self-funded health plans by excluding stop-loss coverage from the definition of health insurance coverage (H.R. 1423/S. 775). Additionally, NAW is participating in an NCB-driven lobbying effort to protect the current tax treatment of employer-paid health benefits.