WASHINGTON, D.C. | September 5, 2013
Dear Mr. Elmendorf and Mr. Barthold:
We request information regarding the projected increase in subsidy spending should premium tax credits also be made available to individuals enrolled in multiemployer health plans. It is critical that Congress understand the potential ramifications on the federal budget of a possible new regulatory decree by the administration that would allow millions of union members to receive taxpayer subsidies that are not available to other Americans who already have employer provided health insurance.
We are concerned that the administration is preparing yet another surprise announcement that would deem certain multiemployer union plans as exchange health plans. This would clearly contradict the intent of the law which denies taxpayer provided premium tax credits to individuals who are eligible for qualified employer sponsored coverage.
The statutory language of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) clearly prohibits such a decision. First, individuals who are eligible for “minimum essential coverage” are not eligible for premium tax credits (PPACA sec. 1401(a), 26 U.S.C. sec. 36B (c)(1)). This is a clear firewall in the statute intended to limit the number of individuals eligible for premium tax credits. According to the attached memo provided to the House Education and the Workforce Committee by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), “multiemployer health plans are considered generally to be employee benefit plans subject to regulation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.” Therefore, CRS continues, “it seems unlikely that an individual who is enrolled in a multiemployer health plan would be eligible for a premium tax credit.”
To read the rest of the letter, click here.
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