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Categorized | Podcasts

Capital Thinking Podcast

Newly-elected Republicans have moved quickly to attempt a repeal of the health care reform legislation. Last week, the Senate voted on an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act. The effort failed by a vote of 47-51. Senators voted along party lines with all Republicans voting for the repeal and all Democrats along with Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders voting against it. Sens. Joe Lieberman, an Independent, and Mark Warner, a Democrat, did not vote. This vote comes two weeks after the House successfully voted to repeal ACA. The Senate approved by a wide margin an amendment to eliminate the 1099 reporting requirement mandated by the Affordable Care Act. This followed the introduction of three separate bills to repeal the unpopular provision. The health care reform law requires that all businesses issue Form 1099 to vendors from which they purchase $600 or more of goods annually and file the information report with the Internal Revenue Service. The requirement is effective for payments made after December 31, 2011, and was included in health care reform as a revenue raising provision. The timing for repeal of the 1099 reporting requirement in the House is unclear; however, on February 17, the House Ways and Means Committee plans to mark up legislation to repeal the 1099 reporting requirement.

On January 31, a Federal judge in Florida issued a ruling declaring the entire health reform law – and the individual mandate, in particular – unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause and therefore “void.” The judge dismissed a separate claim challenging the legality of the Medicaid expansion. According to U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson, “Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications.” The Obama Administration has signaled that it will appeal the decision, and most experts believe that the case will be heard by the Supreme Court in the next couple of years.

On Thursday, CMS Administrator Don Berwick will make his debut on the Hill in appearing before the House Ways and Means Committee at a hearing examining the Affordable Care Act’s impact on Medicare beneficiaries. Richard Foster, Chief Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will also testify at the hearing. During the week of February 14, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius and White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew are scheduled to testify before the Committee about the President’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget proposal.