American Benefits Council
Benefits Byte


July 11, 2014

The Benefits Byte is the American Benefits Council’s regular e-mail and online newsletter for members only, providing timely reports on legislative, regulatory and judicial developments, along with updates on the Council’s activities in support of employer-sponsored benefit plans.

The Benefits Byte is published by the American Benefits Council, based on staff reports and edited by Jason Hammersla, Council director of communications. Contact information for Council staff related to specific topics can be found at the end of each story.

Click here to read past issues on the Benefits Byte Archive page.

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NOTE: This Benefits Byte was also sent in our old format via Outlook.

You will likely receive multiple versions. If this version is erroneously routed to a SPAM filter or blocked by a firewall, please (1) consult with your technical support staff or (2) ask us to assist you with ensuring your system will accept emails from our new “send-from” address. For more information, contact Jason Hammersla, senior director, communications, at (202) 289-6700.

House GOP Lawsuit Against President to Focus on PPACA Employer Mandate Delay

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives released additional details of their forthcoming lawsuit against President Obama on July 10, revealing that the suit will center on the delay of the employer “shared responsibility” provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

As we reported in a June 25 Benefits Byte story, Republicans are pursuing legal action against the President to protest what they perceive as abuse of executive authority. A formal resolution to authorize the lawsuit will be considered by the House Rules Committee within the next week, with a vote anticipated in the full House before the end of the month.

The resolution charges the president and his administration with failure “to act in a manner consistent with that official’s duties under the Constitution and laws of the United States with respect to implementation of (including a failure to implement) any provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

In July 2013, following an informal announcement by the U.S. Treasury Department,  the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2013-45 delaying for one year (until January 2015) the mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements under sections 6055 and 6056 of PPACA, as well as the associated "employer shared responsibility" penalties under Section 4980H. The Council applauded this delay by the administration after having communicated to executive branch officials the untenable implementation burdens that would have otherwise been imposed on employer health plan sponsors.

Speaker of the House John Boehner described the motivation of the House Republicans in a detailed statement, saying “In 2013, the president changed the health care law without a vote of Congress, effectively creating his own law by literally waiving the employer mandate and the penalties for failing to comply with it. … No president should have the power to make laws on his or her own.”

Interestingly, there is a strong indication that the House GOP leadership agreed to pursue this lawsuit as an alternative to filing formal articles of impeachment against President Obama, which several House Republican members have been urging.

For more information, contact James Klein, president, at (202) 289-6700.

PBGC Director Stepping Down

Joshua Gotbaum, director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) will step down from his position in August. PBGC issued a public statement on July 11 but has not named an interim replacement.

The Council released a statement in response to the news, with Council President James Klein saying that Gotbaum “regularly reached out to the Council to get the business community’s input,” and “while we mostly disagreed on substance, Josh understood that employers are the agency’s customers and he communicated that message to us and to his staff.”

The PBGC’s Director position is now an administrative office requiring Senate confirmation, meaning that a permanent replacement is unlikely in the near future. For more information, contact James Klein, president, at (202) 289-6700.

The American Benefits Council is the national trade association for companies concerned about federal legislation and regulations affecting all aspects of the employee benefits system. The Council's members represent the entire spectrum of the private employee benefits community and either sponsor directly or administer retirement and health plans covering more than 100 million Americans.

Notice: the information contained herein is general in nature. It is not, and should not be construed as, accounting, consulting, legal or tax advice or opinion provided by the American Benefits Council or any of its employees. As required by the IRS, we inform you that any information contained herein was not intended or written to be used or referred to, and cannot be used or referred to (i) for the purpose of avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein (and any attachment).