California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

House Set To Vote on Legislation To Delay Individual Mandate Penalty

On Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the House will vote this week on newly proposed legislation (HR 4118) that would delay until 2015 the first-year penalty tied to non-compliance with the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, The Hill's "Floor Action" reports.

Under the ACA, most U.S. residents who do not have insurance coverage in 2014 will face a tax penalty of either $95 or a fine up to 1% of their taxable income. The penalty increases to $325 or 2% of taxable income in 2015 (Kasperowicz, "Floor Action," The Hill, 2/28).

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) introduced the bill -- called the SIMPLE Fairness Act -- with several co-sponsors on Friday. She said the measure stems from the Obama administration's recent decision to delay for a second time a penalty that businesses of a certain size would have faced under law's employer mandate.

Jenkins said, "It is not fair to give relief to businesses with big checkbooks, yet not help hard working families with relief from those same unaffordable mandates" (Howell, Washington Times, 2/28).

Cantor echoed Jenkins' sentiments, saying the bill "will provide relief and fairness to individuals just as the administration has done for businesses by making the individual mandate penalty zero dollars for the remainder of the year."

The House Rules Committee is expected to conduct initial consideration of the measure on Tuesday.

Bill's Prospects

According to CQ Roll Call, some Democrats might vote in favor of HR 4118. Although the bill is expected to pass through the House easily, it is unlikely to garner wide bipartisan support.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) slammed the bill, saying, "As if the first 49 votes were not enough to satisfy the Republican fixation on undoing health reform, the Republican leadership is prepared to make yet another attempt -- their 50th try -- to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act" (CQ Roll Call, 2/28).

This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.