President Obama today completed the first stage of his health reform initiative by signing H.R. 4872, the companion to the bill that created Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Congress has been referring to H.R. 4872 as the Reconciliation Act of 2010, but the full name of the act will be the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
HCERA includes college student aid provisions and a number of provisions that modify PPACA.
HCERA will increase the penalty for affected individuals who fail to buy the minimum required level of health coverage to $2,000, from $750; increase the penalty tax for affected employers that fail to provide the minimum level of health coverage to $2,000, from $750; ease the effects of a proposed 40% “Cadillac plan excise tax” on issuers of expensive health insurance plans; and impose a new tax on income from annuities and other investment vehicles.
The bill also includes Medicare and Medicaid provisions, a funding increase for community health centers, and a section that applies some PPACA consumer protection provisions, such as a ban on health coverage rescissions, even to existing health insurance plans that are “grandfathered in.”
America’s Health Insurance Plans, Washington, says policymakers should come together with health insurers to come up with better efforts to hold down health care spending.