Brownley’s amendment fails–HR 3522 to allow coverage outside ACA moves closer to passage in the House

By Debra Tash

Today Congresswoman Julia Brownley read an amendment into the Congressional record to prevent insurance companies from discriminating against women. Brownley’s legislative attempt would have stopped insurance companies from charging small businesses higher premiums for their female employees, and from selling group plans that deny women contraception or maternity coverage.

The amendment failed by a vote of 187 to 223.

However, what Ms. Brownley didn’t say is that HR 3522, the bill that she was attempting to amend, would on its face allow small businesses, who offer group insurance, a choice if they want to buy insurance coverage that does not meet the ACA (Affordable Care Act) standards.  From the Congressional Budget Office:

H.R. 3522, as amended, would allow insurers to offer group health insurance plans that they offered on any date during 2013 until December 31, 2018, regardless of whether the coverage they provide complies with the market and benefit rules that took effect on January 1, 2014, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Groups would be allowed to enroll in such plans even if they had not previously been covered by them, and people enrolled in those plans would be considered to be in compliance with the individual mandate imposed by the ACA, which requires most residents of the United States to have “minimum essential coverage” (as defined in that act) beginning in 2014. However, insurers would not be allowed to offer such coverage through health insurance exchanges.

What does this mean?  Basically that small businesses don’t have to cover everything listed in the mandate.  A 59 year old man would not have to buy maternity coverage.  And if he needed it, well, that would be a story in itself.

Though the bill, first introduced in 2013, would most likely make it out of the House, it’s future is bleak when it comes to the Senate, where much of what the House has attempted to stop or amend the ACA (aka Obamcare) has died.  Brownley probably has nothing to worry about.  That 59 year old guy will be paying for maternity whether he wants to or not.

Congresswoman Brownley’s floor speech on her amendment:

Debra Tash is Editor-in-Chief of Citizensjournal.us, past president for Citizens Alliance for Property Rights, business executive and award-winning author, residing in Somis.

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