On Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, President Donald Trump delivered the 2019 State of the Union Address (SOTU). The SOTU is an annual message delivered by the president to a joint session of Congress at the beginning of each year. Historically, the SOTU is meant to be uplifting and is designed to serve as an olive branch to bring a divided Congress together.
At this year’s SOTU, President Trump discussed issues that have the potential to impact the employee benefits industry, including pre-existing conditions, lower prescription drug prices and nationwide paid family leave.
Pre-existing Condition Protection
In a departure from 2018 Department of Justice actions, Trump announced in the address that people who have pre-existing conditions should receive protections. If the administration holds true to this goal, they will likely find cross-aisle support, as pre-existing condition patient protection was a key campaign issue in the midterm elections.
Lower Prescription Drug Prices
One of President Trump’s key campaign promises was to make prescription drugs more affordable for Americans. In the SOTU, he called on Congress to prioritize lowering both healthcare and prescription drug costs.
The administration has already taken action to ban gag clauses and also require hospitals to post standard procedure pricing information online. Most recently, they proposed a rule that would eliminate certain drug rebates for pharmacy benefit managers and potentially increase savings for consumers.
Nationwide Paid Family Leave
President Trump called again for federal paid family leave in the SOTU. Public pressure continues to mount over the issue of paid family leave, and states are proposing and passing their own versions of this type of leave. While the specifics of the president’s plan remain unknown, including how it would be funded, this issue would have cross-aisle support.
Benefit Solutions That Fit Your Philosophy
One of the biggest challenges for any business is keeping up with the ever-changing regulatory environment. As your advocate, it is our goal to make sure that your benefits program continues to meet your business goals and remains flexible enough to adapt as your needs and regulations change. Contact Brown & Brown Gulf States for more information on how we can help you remain in compliance.
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