One of the provisions of health care reform – the “free choice vouchers” – has been repealed. The voucher provision generally would have required employers offering unaffordable coverage to pay a voucher for coverage in the Exchange, beginning in 2014, for low-income employees.
In effort to compromise on the 2011 budget late last week, Congress and President Obama repealed the free choice vouchers. Although the law was signed on April 15, 2011, it is effective retroactively– as if the voucher provision was never written into health care reform. The voucher provision was originally added to health care reform by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).
The repeal eliminates one of the issues for consideration in understanding how health care reform will influence employers and employees in 2014. The remaining issues of individual mandates, employment mandates and government subsidies are currently on track to be effective in 2014. However, the House Budget proposal for 2012 suggests those provisions may be repealed as well.