By Linda A. Baumann, Arent Fox LLP, Washington, DC
On Jan. 19, 2011, the House passed legislation (H.R. 2) to repeal the healthcare reform law. Similar legislation subsequently was introduced in the Senate but was defeated on Feb. 2, 2011. In any event, the President would almost certainly have vetoed any wholesale repeal of health care reform. However, Congressional Republicans are threatening to withhold funds needed for implementation, to introduce legislation to repeal specific provisions and to hold oversight hearings. Meanwhile, the focus has shifted to the courts. Although two federal courts have upheld the law's constitutionality, two others have declared all or part of it unconstitutional. Ultimately, the issue likely will be decided by the Supreme Court.
The Constitutionality of Health Care Reform
(A Continuing Update)
By Bruce F. Howell, J.D., M.S., Bryan Cave LLP, Dallas, TX
The enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordability Act of 2010 (“PPACA” or the “Act”) brought an instantaneous response from Attorneys General of several states and other groups questioning the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Act. Suits were filed in Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia seeking to overturn the Act on, inter alia, the grounds that the provisions which mandated the purchase of health insurance by individuals (the “Individual Mandate”) violated provisions of the United States Constitution, specifically the Commerce clause. Several of the United States District Courts have already heard the cases and rendered various rulings in each. In certain cases, appeals are being filed by State Attorneys General.
The 2010 Tax Relief Act – Taking Note of Beneficial (But Temporary) Provisions
By Eric J. Gould, Esq., Couzens, Lansky, Fealk, Ellis, Roeder & Lazar, P.C., Farmington Hills, MI
The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the “Act”), passed by the 111th Congress in its closing days, extends numerous tax provisions for an additional two years, introduces new tax provisions, and makes some significant changes to the federal estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes. There are several elements of the Act worthy of note to those in the healthcare industry.
Employers Subject to New Payroll Reporting Requirements in 2011
By Jon D. Seawright, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, Jackson, MS
Effective January 1, 2011, several payroll tax related provisions under the Internal Revenue Code (Code) have changed. Because the first payroll tax reporting deadline for many employers is quickly approaching, employers should be aware of the new requirements and implement the necessary changes to comply with the new laws.
Recent Circuit Court Decisions May Limit Discovery in ERISA Health Benefit Litigation
By John T. Seybert, Esq. and Matthew P. Mazzola, Esq., Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold, LLP
In an action involving a claim for health benefits under an employee welfare benefit plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA), the court’s review is limited to the administrative record. Generally, this rule results in less expensive proceedings for all parties and quicker rulings from the court. However, in Metropolitan Life Insurance Company v. Glenn, the U.S. Supreme Court found that an insurance company that is vested with discretionary authority to decide a claimant’s eligibility for benefits and also fund the benefits under the ERISA-governed plan has an inherent financial conflict of interest and that this conflict is a factor to be considered in determining whether the decision-making was arbitrary and capricious.
Looking at Hospitals through the Internal Revenue Service’s Magnifying Glass: New Section 501(r) Requirements Affect Tax Return Requirements for Exempt Hospitals
By Alex Grashkina-Hristov, Tax Senior Associate, Wolf and Company P.C., Boston, MA
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) imposes new requirements on tax-exempt hospitals which they will need to comply with in order to maintain their tax-exempt status. The changes are effective for tax years beginning after March 23, 2010, which is the date of the enactment of PPACA, so effective dates for hospitals will vary based on the tax year end. This means that the earliest effective date would be the year beginning April 1, 2010 for hospitals with a March 31, 2011 year end.
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Tax and Accounting Interest Group
The Tax & Accounting Interest Group focuses on the various challenges facing the Health Care industry from a tax and regulatory perspective. Specific topics include the exempt organization issues facing providers that operate on that basis, the accounting treatment of health care providers in light of pronouncements by the AICPA, and the various state laws subjecting operations and purchasing to state and local taxes. Efforts are also expended in monitoring legislative and regulatory developments. Finally, the Interest Group will serve as a forum for debate and exchange on topics identified by the membership within this general topic.
The IG is led by Chair Gwendolyn Joy Spencer, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Boston, MA and Vice-Chairs
Michael A. Clark, Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP, Chicago, IL; Ralph DeJong, McDermott Will & Emery LLP, Chicago, IL; Judith E. Kindell, Internal Revenue Service, Washington, DC and Lauren Mack, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, Chicago, IL.
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