House Budget Committee Advances Repeal of Employer Mandate and IPAB Using Budgetary Procedure
October 13, 2015 01:32 PM
On Friday, October 9, members of the House Budget Committee approved by a vote of 21-11 a package of legislation that would repeal targeted provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The package included legislation to repeal the employer and individual mandates, as well as the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), and other provisions. The committee advanced the legislation using a budgetary procedure known as “reconciliation.”
Earlier this year, Congress passed a budget resolution, which serves as a blueprint for Congress to set levels of federal government spending (see previous NAHC Report article here). The budget resolution included language, know as reconciliation instructions, allowing Congress to use the expedited reconciliation process to enact budget-related legislation in conformity with the blueprint contained in the budget resolution. While legislation typically requires 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster, legislation using reconciliation can pass with 51 votes and is not subject to a filibuster. Therefore, reconciliation is an easier process through which to pass budget-related legislation. However, in order to become law, such legislation still requires a presidential signature. Most believe President Barack Obama is highly likely to veto the legislative package advanced by the House Budget Committee last week in the event that it is passed by both the full House and Senate. Despite the near certainty that the President would veto the package, some congressional Republicans have stated their belief that sending the bills to the President’s desk for the first time would be a victory, and could serve as the basis for future negotiations on reforming the ACA.
“This package will dismantle many of the key elements of Obamacare that are harming individuals and families, hurting job creation and spending taxpayer dollars on programs with little to no congressional oversight,” House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) said. “Our goal is to save the country from this disastrous law and start over with patient-centered health care solutions where patients, families and doctors are making medical decisions, not Washington, D.C.”
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) supports repealing the employer mandate and IPAB, as stated in NAHC’s Legislative Blueprint for Action. With regards to the employer mandate, NAHC stated in the Legislative Blueprint, “home care employers do not have the ability to control service pricing like most other employers that are affected by the employer responsibility provisions in the health care reform legislation. It is counter to the philosophy of health care reform that consumers of private pay home care services would need to pay higher rates for care.”
NAHC also has a long-held position in support of legislation repealing IPAB. When the House passed the IPAB repeal bill earlier this year, NAHC President Val Halamandaris called it an “important step,” and said Medicare “should be governed by a publicly-elected body, not an appointed commission.” (See previous NAHC Report article here for more information about IPAB and NAHC’s position).