Congress is nearing a vote on a $1.1 trillion spending bill that will fund the government into next fall.
It includes the biggest changes so far to one of Congressional Republicans’ top legislative targets over the last half-dozen years: Obamacare.
The omnibus package includes provisions that would delay or suspend three taxes that help finance the Affordable Care Act, undercutting something of a grand bargain struck with the healthcare industry to get the ACA passed.
Everybody got paid — often in the form of new customers. And everybody had to pay — to help underwrite the cost of expanded insurance.
Loren Adler with the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said suspending taxes on insurers and medical device makers lets industry out of that deal.
“The second you start picking away at the individual fees and taxes, all of a sudden that becomes a slippery slope,” he said.
Adler said suspending those two taxes cuts $12 billion out of the budget, and he wonders which industry may get in line next. But as it stands right now, MIT economist Jon Gruber, an architect of the law, said these changes won’t gut Obamacare.
“Basically this is taking away the parts of the ACA that are causing hardship for some special interests, and that’s not unraveling the ACA,” he said. “That’s just making the deficit bigger.”
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