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Legislation

Verifying Income Eligibility for Premium Subsidies and Cost-Sharing Assistance under the ACA: Impact of the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013

Posted on October 17, 2013

Although similar at first blush, the two provisions are quite different in their actual wording and their potential impact. The provision that ultimately became law requires that the Secretary take steps to assure that Exchanges comply with the ACA’s income verification requirements…

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House approves continuing resolution to withold ACA funding

Posted on March 7, 2013

The US House of Representatives approved a continuing resolution (CR) yesterday that would deny necessary funding for several agencies to implement their respective portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bill, H.R. 933, was introduced on Monday by Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY). Several specific funding denials include:

  • $949 million to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to aid in paying for the federal insurance exchanges.
  • $29 million to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control.
  • Funds requested by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for ACA tax provisions.

267 Members voted in favor of the bill.

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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 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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House passes student loan bill

Posted on April 27, 2012

The House passed H.R. 4628: Interest Rate Reduction Act 215-195 to hold subsidized student loan interest rates at 3.4 percent for one year. House Republicans attached a Democratically unfavorable rider to the bill. The rider would tap into the Prevention and Public Health Fund, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision designated to improve public health efforts such as screening programs. The White House has threatened to veto such a bill, arguing that further slashing the Prevention Fund would cause harm to those in need of preventive services.

The Senate will debate its own student loan interest rate freeze bill on May 7. While the House bill pays for the bill through cuts to the Prevention and Public Health Fund, Senate Democrats will fund the bill through tax increases on certain corporations.

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House approves IPAB repeal

Posted on March 23, 2012

Members of the House approved H.R. 5, the Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) act, by a vote of 223-181, with only seven Democrats supporting the bill and ten Republicans opposing. H.R. 5 would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a provision under the Affordable Care Act. IPAB, a 15-member government agency, would have the power to force cuts to providers if Medicare expenditures rose beyond a predetermined cap. The board’s decisions would be immune from the court system, and thus would carry the full force of law. IPAB was tasked with finding Medicare savings and instituting medical tort reform across the country.

For more information on IPAB, click here.

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Senate passes payroll-tax cut extension; prevention fund takes hit

Posted on February 17, 2012

In a vote of 60 to 36, the Senate passed a $150 billion economic package to extend the payroll tax holiday, unemployment compensation, Medicare physician payment, provide for the consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline, and for other purposes. The package will extend a payroll tax holiday for 160 million workers and unemployment benefits for the rest of the year. The bill passed in the House earlier today. The legislation will now go to President Obama, awarding him a victory on a portion of the jobs bill he presented to Congress in the fall.

The package will take the first significant…

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House approves CLASS repeal

Posted on February 2, 2012

By a vote of 267-159, the House approved a bill (H.R. 1173) yesterday to repeal a long-term care program, Community Living Assistance Program and Supports (CLASS), a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Twenty-eight Democrats joined a unanimous Republican Conference in support of the repeal. CLASS was added to the ACA as the first federally sponsored long-term care program available to most working adults on a voluntary basis. This repeal comes after an announcement in October 2011 from the Obama administration, stating that they had no intention of implementing the program due to financing issues. The repeal of the (CLASS) program has been a priority of the Republican controlled House, but it seems there is little chance that a similar bill would pass in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

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Sen. Wyden (D-OR) joins Rep. Ryan (R-WI) on Medicare Plan

Posted on December 18, 2011

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon teamed up with Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin on a Medicare overhaul plan that would provide beneficiaries with a fixed amount to buy private coverage or pay for a traditional fee-for-service plan. Different from the Ryan plan introduced earlier this year, the Ryan-Wyden proposal would not do away with Medicare, but instead would leave it is an option for beneficiaries to purchase with their vouchers. However, this plan would not ensure that the voucher would make Medicare affordable, nor would it preclude private insurance policies from designing benefit plans to exclusively attract healthy beneficiaries.

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