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Q&A: Jim Hamilton

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Executive Q & A

Jim Hamilton, an employee-benefits lawyer at Bose McKinney & Evans in Indianapolis, discussed the likelihood of a Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives changing or even outright repealing the health care reform law, formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

IBJ: With Republicans controlling the U.S. House but not the Senate, how much room will they have to try to repeal the health care reform law?

A: My sense is there will be bills introduced in the House to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act. However, those bills will largely be symbolic. There is virtually no chance the Affordable Care Act will be repealed before 2013 [due to President Obama’s certain veto]. Even if a Republican president were to win in 2012, I think many of the provisions of the law would remain. Those are the provisions that require an employer to cover a child up to age 26, no pre-existing conditions, no lifetime limits. Those provisions are viewed by most Americans as being positive.

IBJ: Does that leave House Republicans any real options to make good on their campaign promises to repeal or reform the health care law?

A: It’s more likely that Republicans will withhold money needed for agencies to enforce the law--Internal Revenue Service enforcement of the individual mandate and potentially the employer penalty. We should also expect some interesting hearings, with the secretary of Health and Human Services and the director of Medicare. There will be lots of hearings on the health reform bill to continue to keep this issue in the news. Certainly, it has been a major campaign issue in 2010. I believe that some Republicans would like to see this remain an issue until 2012.

IBJ: Are there any changes to the health care reform law for which Republicans could gain Democrat support?

A: It is possible that a Republican-controlled House may get some traction on, like the 1099 issue. If I’m a small business, and over the course of the year I buy more than $600 worth of paper from Staples, I’ve got to [send an IRS Form] 1099 [to] Staples. There is an understanding among many in Congress that this provision is difficult. Also, the ability of an employer health plan to receive grandfather status. There has already been some slippage on this. If you’re fully insured and you change insurance companies, does that automatically result in loss of grandfather status? The initial answer was yes, that causes you to lose grandfather status. But now the federal government is looking at it. Certainly, a Republican-controlled House will enhance the likelihood of exceptions. The federal government may be more lenient in allowing employers to be able to retain their grandfather status.

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  1. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  2. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

  3. Good try, Mr. Irwin, but I think we all know the primary motivation for pursuing legal action against the BMV is the HUGE FEES you and your firm expect to receive from the same people you claim to be helping ~ taxpayers! Almost all class action lawsuits end up with the victim receiving a pittance and the lawyers receiving a windfall.

  4. Fix the home life. We're not paying for your child to color, learn letters, numbers and possible self control. YOU raise your children...figure it out! We did. Then they'll do fine in elementary school. Weed out the idiots in public schools, send them well behaved kids (no one expects perfection) and watch what happens! Oh, and pray. A mom.

  5. To clarify, the system Cincinnati building is just a streetcar line which is the cheapest option for rail when you consider light rail (Denver, Portland, and Seattle.) The system (streetcar) that Cincy is building is for a downtown, not a city wide thing. With that said, I think the bus plan make sense and something I shouted to the rooftops about. Most cities with low density and low finances will opt for BRT as it makes more financial and logistical sense. If that route grows and finances are in place, then converting the line to a light rail system is easy as you already have the protected lanes in place. I do think however that Indy should build a streetcar system to connect different areas of downtown. This is the same thing that Tucson, Cincy, Kenosha WI, Portland, and Seattle have done. This allows for easy connections to downtown POI, and allows for more dense growth. Connecting the stadiums to the zoo, convention center, future transit center, and the mall would be one streetcar line that makes sense.

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