As introduced in the House of Representatives on January 6, 2015
H.R. 30 would change how penalties are imposed under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on employers that do not offer insurance (or offer insurance that does not meet certain criteria) and that have at least one full-time employee receiving a subsidy through a health insurance exchange. The legislation would raise the threshold that defines full-time employment from 30 hours per week under current law to 40 hours per week, and it would apply that higher threshold in two ways in the calculation of penalties.
As a result, H.R. 30 would reduce the number of employers that are assessed penalties and lower the penalties assessed against some employers, which would decrease the amount of penalties collected. Because of the changes in who would pay penalties and the amounts they would pay, CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that enacting H.R. 30 would also change the sources of health insurance coverage for some people, and those changes would have further budgetary effects. Specifically, in years after 2015, CBO and JCT estimate that the legislation would:
Reduce the number of people receiving employment-based coverage—by about 1 million people;
Increase the number of people obtaining coverage through Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or health insurance exchanges—by between 500,000 and 1 million people; and
Increase the number of uninsured—by less than 500,000 people.
As a consequence of the changes in penalties and in people’s sources of insurance coverage, CBO and JCT estimate that enacting H.R. 30 would increase budget deficits by $18.1 billion over the 2015-2020 period and by $53.2 billion over the 2015-2025 period. The 2015-2025 total is the net of $66.4 billion in additional on-budget costs and $13.2 billion in off-budget savings (the latter attributable to increased revenues). Although enacting H.R. 30 would affect direct spending and revenues, the provisions of the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 do not apply to the legislation because it includes a provision that would direct the Office of Management and Budget to exclude the estimated changes in direct spending and revenues from the scorecards used to enforce the pay-as-you-go rules.