A project of the George Washington University's Hirsh Health Law and Policy Program and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

112th Congress

A Summary of the Health-Related Provisions of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8)

Posted on January 8, 2013

Both the Senate and the House passed H.R.8 (89-8 and 257-167, respectively), the American Taxpayer Relief Act, on January 1, 2013. President Barack Obama signed the Act into law on January 3, 2013. The measure extends Bush-era income and other tax cuts for individuals and families making up to $400,000 and $450,000 respectively. For individuals and families above this income threshold, the bill increases taxes from 35% to 39.6%. H.R. 8 also postpones…

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Representative Issa subpoenas Obama administration for Medicare Advantage documents

Posted on October 23, 2012

Darrell Issa, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman, subpoenaed the Obama administration on Monday for documents that he believes will reveal illegal actions taken by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with respect to Medicare. Issa threatened to issue the subpoena in a letter he wrote last week. In response, the HHS delivered 1,300 pages to Issa before the Thursday 5:00 p.m. deadline. Arguing that the information delivered by HHS did not address his request, Issa went forward with the subpoena on Monday. Issa requested information regarding the size of demonstration programs, a rationale for the Medicare Advantage bonus payments, and information regarding the requirement that all demonstration projects receive a statistical evaluation.

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Measure to repeal tax on premiums garners support in the House

Posted on September 24, 2012

Representative Charles W. Boustany’s H.R. 1370, a measure to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) tax on health insurance premiums, has garnered enough co-sponsors to pass through the House chamber. The elimination of this tax, which is estimated to cost around $87 billion over 10 years, is supported by insurers and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). The tax applies to group and individual plans but exempts self-insured entities. According to STOP The HIT, a coalition of associations working to repeal the tax, H.R. 1370 now has 221 co-sponsors.

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House bill on ACA’s MLR requirement passes Energy and Commerce Committee

Posted on September 20, 2012

H.R. 1206, sponsored by Representatives Mike Rogers and John Barrow, alters the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) medical loss ratio (MLR) by excluding insurance brokers’ fees from counting as administrative costs under the ACA provision. MLR mandates that insurers spend at least 80 percent of premiums on medical care as opposed to administrative costs or profits. Nearly 13 million consumers recently received over one billion dollars in rebates on their health insurance premiums due to the MLR standard.

Today, the Committee voted 26-14 to pass the bill. Representative John Barrow was the only Democrat to support it.

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House Republicans probe IRS regarding federal exchange tax credits

Posted on August 22, 2012

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and several other Republican colleagues sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner, Douglas Shulman, asking him to explain his reasoning for offering tax credits through federal exchanges. In the letter, House Republicans argue that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not authorize the IRS to offer the credits.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus argued that it was a drafting error to only permit state-run insurance exchanges to offer the tax credits.

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House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee holds hearing on how to reform Medicare physician payment system

Posted on July 30, 2012

House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee held a a hearing at 1o a.m. on July 24, 2012 in the Longworth House Office Building to explore physician organization efforts to promote high quality patient care. The goal of the hearing was to inform Subcommittee members regarding how to reform the Medicare physician payment system. The Subcommittee heard from organizations representing the physicians at the forefront of patient care.

Physicians told the House panel that…

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House Appropriations Committee seeks to cut all AHRQ and PCOR funding

Posted on July 18, 2012

Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee posted the proposed fiscal year 2013 spending bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies. The bill effectively terminates the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (Section 223) by cutting its budget entirely. This is the first such attack on AHRQ funding in almost 20 years.

AHRQ funds research and programs at local universities, hospitals, and health departments that improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care. The bill also cuts funding for patient-centered outcomes research (Section 217). The PCOR funding prohibition would extend to any federal agency in the subcommittee’s jurisdiction.

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Business leaders say ACA will raise costs at House Committee on Oversight and Government hearing

Posted on July 12, 2012

At a House Committee on Oversight and Government hearing held on July 10, business leaders testified that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will lead to higher health care costs for employers and cause businesses to reduce their hiring.

Jamie Richardson, a vice president with White Castle System Inc., said…

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House votes to repeal ACA

Posted on July 12, 2012

The House voted again Wednesday to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Members approved the bill in a 244-185 vote, after five hours of debate. Five House Democrats, including Reps. Dan Boren (OK), Larry Kissell (NC), Jim Matheson (UT), Mike McIntyre (NC) and Mike Ross (AK), sided with Republicans in the final vote. Repeal of Obamacare Act, H.R. 6079 was passed by the House in response to the Supreme Court’s June 28 decision to uphold the ACA.

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House Republicans target IRS, FFEs

Posted on June 21, 2012

Two House Republicans introduced new legislation to block an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rule that will offer tax credits for buying health insurance in Federally Facilitated Exchanges (FFEs). Reps. Scott DesJarlais and Phil Roe maintain that since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) only authorized tax credits for the purchase of insurance on state-run exchanges—and not for federally operated exchanges—the IRS rule cannot offer tax credits in both marketplaces. The legislation would affect many of the estimated 16 million people expected to gain coverage, as about 30 states are expected to have federally run exchanges. Under the IRS rule, premium tax credits will be available to individuals between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level who purchase coverage inside of both state and federal exchanges beginning in 2014. Additional subsidies are available for individuals up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

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