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PPACA 'grandmothering' bill heads to House floor

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House leaders could bring a modified version of H.R. 3522 — a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) “grandmothering” bill — to the floor later this week.

The House Rules Committee is preparing to draw rules for debating the Employee Health Care Protection Act of 2013 bill Tuesday. The bill was introduced by Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La. Cassidy is a medical doctor.

Members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee approved the bill by a 27-0 vote in July. The version reported by the committee would have let an insurer that offered a group major medical plan in 2013 to continue to sell the plan.

PPACA already lets employers keep “grandfathered plans” — plans largely unchanged since before PPACA was signed into law — in place. A grandfathered plan can avoid complying with most PPACA commercial insurance coverage mandates. A grandmothered plan, or “transitional plan,” can avoid any PPACA mandates that took effect Jan. 1, 2014, but it must comply with PPACA commercial insurance mandates that took effect before 2014, such as a mandate that requires a plan to provide coverage for a package of basic preventive services without imposing out-of-pocket costs on the patients, and a provision that requires plans to provide standardized Summaries of Benefits and Coverage.

The Rules Committee says it will debate a revised version of H.R. 3522. The revised version would let insurers sell grandmothered group products only until Dec. 31, 2018. The revised version also includes a provision indicating that the federal law would have no effect on a state’s ability to regulate grandmothering.

Cassidy accused President Obama last week of lying about whether Americans could keep their health plans if PPACA became law.

“This commonsense bill simply holds the president to his promise that you can keep the health plan you had and liked,” Cassidy said in a statement. “This is a matter of fairness.”


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