On Thursday, June 22nd, the Senate released the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA), its version of a bill designed to make significant changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Senate bill is very similar to the American Health Care Act (AHCA), passed by the House in May. Like the AHCA, much of the BCRA is focused on reductions in federal Medicaid spending and on a repeal (or delay) of most taxes included in the ACA. Both bills eliminate the individual and employer “mandate” and make changes to the small group and individual health insurance markets. Like the AHCA, the BCRA leaves many other existing ACA insurance rules in place.
Much has already been written about various aspects of this legislation. This issue brief will focus on the specific elements of the Senate bill that most directly affect employers and the health benefits offered to employees. When it comes to the employer-related provisions, the BCRA is almost identical to the AHCA.