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House, Blue States Ask Justices to Uphold ACA

"[On January 3,] the states and the House of Representatives filed two petitions asking the Supreme Court to weigh in on the constitutionality of the mandate immediately, as well as the ACA's viability if the mandate is struck down, without waiting for the lower courts to act. Both petitions portray Supreme Court review as inevitable.... [T]he justices need to intervene now, the states and the House emphasize, because of the 'paralyzing uncertainty' about the ACA that the 5th Circuit's decision has created." [U.S. House of Representatives v. Texas, No. 19-481 (cert. pet. and motion to expedite consideration filed Jan. 3, 2020)]


Viability of ACA Is Still in Limbo

"It is in the severability analysis that the entire viability of the ACA now resides. And it is the very district court that initially struck the entire ACA down that must render this important severability analysis.... At most, the Fifth Circuit held unconstitutional an individual mandate that carried no financial penalty or other consequence. Thus, there is no impact from the decision to date, and it may be many months or even years before the issues remanded to the district court are resolved." [Texas v. U.S., No. 19-10011 (5th Cir. Dec. 18, 2019)]

Morgan Lewis

Why Firms Offer Paid Parental Leave: An Exploratory Study

"[F]irm-provided PPL has greatly increased in the last two decades and generally covers new fathers. The levels of provision differ greatly by the industry, firm size, and the degree of firm-specific training. But even the top-of-the-line firm in the US provides fewer fully paid parental weeks than does the median OECD nation."

National Bureau of Economic Research [NBER]; purchase required for full document

States, Not the Presidential Candidates, Will Take the Lead on Health Care in 2020

"Colorado and Washington are implementing public insurance options that could be a model for Democrats at the federal level.... Pennsylvania and New Jersey are taking over their [ACA] marketplaces from the federal government.... Idaho and other red states are promoting short-term insurance plans as an alternative to the [ACA].... Georgia is seeking ACA waiver plan to ditch the state's marketplace, with consumers enrolling through insurers and web brokers[.]"

Drew Altman, via Axios

Democratic AGs, House Ask Supreme Court for Expedited Review of Texas v. Azar

"Accepting the appeal now would stave off a multi-year delay -- prolonging confusion and uncertainty for health care stakeholders, state and federal officials, and patients -- that would occur if the case is remanded back to the district court. The request for review (and expedited review) by the Supreme Court is being made by the 21 intervenor states and the House because the Trump administration declined to defend the ACA in court, siding with the plaintiffs in asking the court to strike down much of the law." [U.S. House of Representatives v. Texas, No. 19-481 (cert. pet. and motion to expedite consideration filed Jan. 3, 2020)]

Katie Keith, in Health Affairs

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Year-End Tax Act Ushers in Plan Changes

"Many of these changes become effective currently or in the next year, and some even have a retroactive effect that would require retirement plan sponsors' immediate attention.... Although we are yet to hear from the IRS on the timing of amendments to retirement plans that must reflect the SECURE Act changes, employers should start reviewing their plans now to determine what action is immediately required under the new legislation, and what steps must be taken to ensure plan compliance in 2020 and beyond."

Nixon Peabody LLP

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

ICHRA for Small Employers

"Based on my reading of the ICHRA regulations, it would be mathematically impossible for an employer with, hypothetically, one full-time employee and nine part-time employees, to establish an ICHRA for the part-timers because the 'class' for purposes of the ICHRA is fewer than 10 employees. Is this correct or am I missing something?"

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Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2020, Inc. All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of those materials. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notices from copies of the content.

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