Taking a closer look at the manager’s amendment to the healthcare bill
The final Senate Healthcare Bill was released earlier this week with a Manager’s Amendment. Taking a glass half full look at the amendment, a number of the changes have been identified as employer-friendly, such as the elimination of a public plan option, stronger penalties for non-compliance with the individual mandate (designed as motivation to find health insurance coverage) and a $600 penalty for employers who impose a waiting period for health coverage of longer than 60 days, replacing the 30 day limit contained in the original version.
However there are also a number of changes that could be seen as potential administrative challenges for employers, such as the issuance of a voucher to employees who must get health insurance on the exchange if the group coverage is too expensive, among others.
Final approval for the Senate bill is scheduled for Christmas Eve. If this step is successful, the House and Senate will make a final presentation for healthcare reform to President Obama early in the New Year and the legislation could be finalized by late January.
(Check out WGA’s This Week in Health Care Reform series, an ongoing summary of the major developments in national the debate on health care reform.)