By Jerry Geisel, Crain News Service
WASHINGTON (Oct. 16, 2013) — A bipartisan agreement to fully reopen the federal government and raise the government's borrowing authority that was reached today by Democratic and Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate includes no major changes to the nation's healthcare reform law.
The sole provision in the agreement that relates to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) would expand income verification of lower-income uninsured individuals before they could obtain federal premium subsidies to buy coverage in public health insurance exchanges.
Earlier, lawmakers floated a proposal that would have delayed a PPACA provision — now set to go into effect next year — that initially imposes a $63 fee per plan participant on self-funded employers and other plan sponsors. The proposal, which would have delayed the fee until 2015, is not part of the accord.
The $25 billion to be generated by the Transitional Reinsurance Program fee over a three-year period is to be used by the federal government to partially reimburse commercial insurers that cover individuals with high healthcare costs.
Another proposal that was floated but not adopted would have delayed or repealed a new tax on medical devices.
The agreement could be voted on by the House and Senate as soon as this evening, with the government's debt limit set to expire at midnight.
This report appeared on the website of Business Insurance magazine, a Chicago-based sister publication of Tire Business.