During consideration of the Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act (H.R. 1) – the measure to fund federal government agencies, programs and services for 2011 – the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve a number of amendments prohibiting funding for implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). This included the following key provisions:
An amendment (No. 575) by Representative Denny Rehberg (R-MT), prohibiting the funding of “any employee, officer, contractor, or grantee of any department” to implement PPACA, passed on a 239-187 vote;
An amendment (No. 267) by Representative Steve King (R-IA), prohibiting the funding of any implementation of the law passed on a 241-187 vote;
Another amendment (No. 268) by Rep. King, prohibiting the funding of any salary of any official to implement the law, passed on a 237-191 vote; and
An amendment (No. 83) by Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), prohibiting the Internal Revenue Service from enforcing the individual mandate, passed on a 246-182 vote.
All votes were generally cast along party lines, with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats against.
It remains highly unlikely that the Senate will approve such restrictions to the implementation of PPACA when the chamber takes up the measure. However, the House action may lead to contentious negotiations between House and Senate leaders and the White House over final approval of the spending bill. The passage of the de-funding measures follows the House’s symbolic vote to repeal the PPACA that is expected to meet stiff resistance in the Senate. However, these and other expected measures are likely to continue to dominate the healthcare agenda in Washington.
Meanwhile at the state level, Governors of several states continue to come forward and announce their intentions to not comply with the pieces of the PPACA law that have to be enacted at the state level. Alaska and Florida are two states that have made such public pronouncements. Finally, the federal court decision in Florida deeming the PPACA unconstitutional has lent further uncertainty to the future of the law as it races toward what is expected to be a show down in the Supreme Court. While employers and plan sponsors are still advised to continue to alter their plans to comply with the PPACA it is clear that more changes will be forthcoming.
Conner Strong regularly monitors the PPACA issue and will continue to publish updates as they become available. If you have questions related to any aspect of the PPACA, please call your Conner Strong account representative toll-free at 1-877-861-3220. For a complete list of Legislative Updates issued by Conner Strong, visit our online Resource Center.
This Legislative Update is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. Readers are urged to contact an attorney for legal advice or assistance.