GOP-Led Congress Convenes Tomorrow, Likely To Push ACA Changes
Congress will reconvene Tuesday, and the GOP majority in both chambers plans to consider measures that would alter parts of the Affordable Care Act, the New York Times reports.
For example, the House likely will consider legislation that would change the definition of full-time workers under the law's employer mandate from those who work 30 hours per week to those who work 40 hours per week (Hulse, New York Times, 1/4).
Further, GOP lawmakers might also seek to repeal the ACA's medical device tax (Demko, Modern Healthcare, 1/3).
In addition, Republican lawmakers could bring up legislation that would change how the employer mandate counts workers with health insurance by excluding veterans (Sherman/Min Kim, Politico, 1/3).
During an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said that while Congress will hold a vote to repeal the ACA, President Obama "will veto" such a bill. Therefore, Barrasso said the GOP is focused on striking down portions of the ACA that have been unpopular with both Republicans and Democrats.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who also appeared on "Meet the Press," added that she is working with incoming Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to push through legislation this year that would repeal the ACA's medical device tax (Wilson, "Briefing Room," The Hill, 1/4).
GOP Could Unveil ACA Replacement in 2015
In related news, Republican lawmakers in 2015 could unveil legislation to replace the ACA, Politico reports.
According to Politico, an upcoming decision by the Supreme Court on whether subsidies to help U.S. residents purchase coverage through the federal exchange are legal is putting the pressure on Republicans to draft a plan to replace the law. Barrasso said, "What the [Supreme Court] case does is gives us an opportunity and a reason to come to a consensus sooner so, when we get the ruling ... in June, we are then prepared to say, 'Here is what is better for the American people in terms of affordability, quality and choice.'"
According to Barrasso, various groups, including members of the Republican Policy Committee and two Senate committees, have begun discussing options to replace the ACA. In addition, Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Hatch are making changes to their own ACA replacement plan, which they unveiled last year. Burr said, "The onus is on us to present a logical solution prior to that case ever being heard," adding, "Maybe the court will feel more confident making a decision if in fact there is a legislation solution [to the subsidy problem] that is realistic" (Haberkorn, Politico, 1/4).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.