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  • Washington Highlights

    Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce Committees Pass Reconciliation Recommendations

    Len Marquez, Senior Director, Government Relations

    The House Ways and Means Committee Sept. 29 passed (23-14) reconciliation legislation to repeal five parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152 ) including the individual mandate, the employer mandate, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), the medical device tax, and the excise tax on high-cost health plans, otherwise known as the “Cadillac tax.”

    Opening the mark-up, Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) stated that the repeals would “stop Obamacare in its tracks and start working toward a more affordable, higher-quality, patient-centered system.”

    Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-Mich.) called the reconciliation hearing a “waste of time for Members of Congress” and added that “The effect of just one provision in this legislation today – repeal of the individual mandate – would increase premiums in the individual market by 20 percent. Fourteen million would lose insurance coverage.”

    Additionally, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Sept. 30 passed (28-23) reconciliation instructions to defund both Planned Parenthood and the Prevention and Public Health Fund.

    In his opening statement, Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), called for the repeal of the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Chairman Upton further added that the Prevention and Public Health Fund is a “misguided attempt at increasing funding for preventive services.”

    Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) highlighted the importance of the Prevention and Public Health Fund and expressed her support by stating the fund “exists to address the expensive and debilitative chronic conditions that plague far too many in our country. These efforts are based on the best medical science to implement programs that prevent disease before they become more costly for the individual and for our health care system.”

    Both the House and Senate fiscal year (FY) 2016 budgets instructed House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees and the Senate Finance Committee to report $1 billion in deficit reduction recommendations [see Washington Highlights, March 20]. The reconciliation recommendations passed by both committees will now be considered by the House Budget Committee.