On Friday, leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives pulled the American Health Care Act (AHCA) from a vote when it became clear that the bill did not have the votes to pass. The AHCA would have replaced the Affordable Care Act (ACA), replacing, modifying or retaining its various provisions.

“Bottom line, this leaves small businesses in a continued state of limbo, because there’s still an issue of compliance but without a sense of what the program is going forward,” says Claudia St. John, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, president of Affinity HR Group. “Our recommendation is to continue doing what you’re doing until we see what changes are put forward.”

Earlier this month, The New York Times published a piece on how the original draft of the AHCA kept, changed or discarded parts of the ACA. While 11 amendments were added to draw in more moderate and conservative votes, House leadership was unable to secure the 215 votes needed assure its passing.

St. John says, “Health care is a massive undertaking. It’s like a balloon. You push in at one point and it expands somewhere else. Any changes they do put forward would be at the earliest in 2018 or later.”

For small businesses looking for guidance on managing health care during this time of potential transition, St. John recommends keeping these four points in mind:

  • It doesn’t look like anything major or systemic will happen anytime soon with the ACA.
  • If changes were to happen, they wouldn’t go into effect anytime soon. It’s like turning a battleship.
  • Small businesses should continue as they are and maintain their current practices. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  • The best source of up-to-date, applicable information is your local health insurance broker.