Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


Republicans React to SCOTUS Decision Upholding PPACA "Tax"

House Republican leaders were quick to seize on the Supreme Court’s decision that the PPACA individual mandate penalty is a “tax” by scheduling a vote in the House to repeal the statute. The House Rules Committee will meet in an “emergency session” on Monday to form the rule under which the repeal vote will take place on Wednesday

It is also anticipated that the House will soon take up H.R. 6020, the FY 2013 Financial services appropriations bill that includes restrictions on PPACA-related funding between HHS and the IRS and restrictions on federal insurance exchanges from using federal funds to pay for administrative costs associated with abortions. The bill does not include the additional $1 billion requested by the Administration for implementation of the PPACA by the IRS.

On Tuesday, according to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, his panel will hold a hearing on the potential effect of the Supreme Court ruling that the individual mandate and related penalty is constitutional on the grounds that the penalty is a “tax” and that “Congress has the broad power to levy taxes far beyond the historic scope of raising revenue.”

President Obama’s campaign rhetoric countered that the PPACA is “here to stay” and said Republicans should move on from the issue.

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney also aligned his final position with other Republicans by stating that the Supreme Court has the final word and that “Obamacare is a tax.”

Republican Senate to Use Reconciliation to Target PPACA

Senator Jon Kyl said that, if Republicans obtain a majority in the Senate after the election, the new majority could use the budget reconciliation process (requiring only 51 votes) to “reverse the more onerous provisions of Obamacare and replace them with what Republicans have been talking about.” The Supreme Court decision upholding the individual mandate and penalty as a “tax” would likely allow for its repeal to survive the so-called “Byrd Rule”, but other PPACA provisions “extraneous” to budget matters would not be eligible for repeal under reconciliation. The CRS has released a new report on the provisions involving the individual mandate and related penalties.

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