U.S. Senate Blocks PPACA Repeal Effort
February 3, 2011
On February 2, 2011, the U.S. Senate defeated an amendment to an unrelated bill that would have repealed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in its entirety. The result was not unexpected. The vote was along party lines, with all 47 Republicans voting to repeal and 51 Democratic Senators voting not to repeal. Two Senators - Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Mark Warner (D-VA) - did not vote. Sixty votes of approval were needed to overcome a procedural point of order. The action comes less than a month after the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill on January 19 to repeal the Obama Administration’s health care reform legislation.
The Senate did, however, agree on a broad bipartisan basis to strip the law of a new tax reporting requirement (the so-called “1099 requirement”) placed on businesses to report all cumulative purchases from vendors totaling more than $600 per year. While there is broad, bipartisan support for that provision in the House and Senate - and President Obama has indicated an openness to revisiting it - it appears it will take several months for that provision to progress through the legislative process.
The Senate vote took place one day after a Florida federal judge ruled that requiring Americans to purchase health insurance starting in 2014 is “unconstitutional.” The Department of Justice will appeal the decision in this case, which was filed in March 2010 by Florida and joined by 25 other states. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the individual mandate, probably in 2012.
In addition, Florida Governor Rick Scott recently announced that the state would halt its preparations for implementing PPACA. Until the Supreme Court rules on the mandate or Congress amends the law, Cigna's recommendation is to administer our plans in accordance with PPACA guidelines.
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