Legislative Activity

Republicans Seek to Modify Affordable Care Act

With the start of the 114th Congress, Republicans will seek to use their new majorities to modify various Affordable Care Act provisions. In the House of Representatives, legislation is on the docket to define a full workweek as forty hours for the purposes of Obamacare. Movement is also expected on legislation that would exempt employers from including veterans in their employee count for Obamacare’s employer mandate. In the Senate, a full health reform repeal vote is on the table. However, Democrats still retain enough seats to mount a successful filibuster against any contentious legislation. Republicans are thus exploring opportunities within the budget reconciliation process to dismantle portions of the Affordable Care Act. Before he left for his holiday vacation, President Barack Obama vowed to veto any legislation that would undermine his landmark health reforms.

Regulatory Activity

Charitable Hospitals Final Rule Released

On December 29, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service released the final regulations for charitable hospital organizations. These regulations provide additional guidance for requirements enacted by the Affordable Care Act. They are also a response to reports that some charitable hospitals have used aggressive debt collection practices in the past. Specifically, these regulations provide further guidance on: limiting patient charges, establishing and publishing financial assistance policies, abiding by reasonable billing and collection procedures, and targeting community health.