The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health discharged a bill that would temporarily exempt individuals from penalties for failing to purchase and maintain minimum essential health care coverage if their plan was issued by a Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) and later terminated or otherwise discontinued. The Subcommittee’s action means that the bill, H.R. 954, can now be brought to the House floor for consideration without a report or proper committee vote. The changes from enacting H.R. 954 would be effective retroactively, starting on January 1, 2014.
In a cost estimate of the bill, if enacted, both the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimated that the legislation would reduce revenues by $4 million over the 2016-2026 period resulting in a federal budget deficit of the same amount during the same period. The CBO and JCT also estimated that enacting the bill would not increase net direct spending in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027, and would increase on-budget deficits over those periods by very small amounts.
The CO-OP program was established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) and included federal loans to foster the creation of nonprofit plans that would offer health insurance to individuals and small employers.
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