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June 2015 Archives

King v. Burwell: Affirming the Affordable Care Act

The controversial Affordable Care has caused debate and litigation since it was signed by the President in 2010. The Affordable Care Act embodies three reforms to overhaul the American healthcare system. First, the Act required guaranteed issue and community rating which requires health insurance providers to offer health insurance to offer health insurance policies to everyone within a given territory, without medical underwriting. Second, the Act issued a national mandate requiring individuals to maintain health insurance coverage, or pay a fine to the IRS. Lastly, the Act seeks to make healthcare more affordable through giving refundable tax credits to individuals with household incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty line. The Act also requires the creation of an "Exchange" in each state which functions as a marketplace which allows individuals to shop for different insurance plans. The Act states that the federal government will establish an exchange if a state does not. The Act supplies that tax credits shall be allowed for any applicable tax payer, but only if the taxpayer has enrolled in an insurance plan through an exchange established by a state. An IRS regulation interprets that the language as making tax credits available on an exchange regardless of whether the exchange is established by a state or HHS. The ambiguities within the Act's language and the IRS's regulation caused confusion.

Paid Sick Leave: New Duties for Employers

In a current wave of legislation, states and cities across the country are passing laws and ordinances granting workers paid sick leave. Massachusetts, Connecticut, California and Washington have passed state wide laws permitting leave. Cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore and nine New Jersey municipalities have enacted paid sick leave laws. Even many private companies, such as Chipotle have begun to enact paid sick leave policies for all types of workers. While some view these laws as a large step forward for American employees, others feel as though government is overstepping its bounds by dictating how employers treat employees. In response to many city ordinances granting this leave, some states have adopted preemption laws which prohibit localities from passing such laws.

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