Moments ago, the House of Representatives passed four different amendments to the continuing resolution that would deny funding to the Affordable Care Act or the employees who are currently implementing the law, jeopardizing the law’s consumer protections and potentially leading to the loss of some 500 federal jobs. Below are the relevant amendments:
- REHBERG #575 – prohibits funds in the bill from being paid to any employee, officer, contractor, or grantee of any department or agency funded by the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies portion of the bill to implement the provisions of ObamaCare. Passed: 239-187
- KING (IA) #267 – prohibits the use of funds in the bill from being used to carry out the provisions of ObamaCare. Passed: 241-187
- KING (IA) #268 – prohibits the use of funds in the bill from being used to pay the salary of any officer or employee of any federal department or agency with respect to carrying out the provisions of ObamaCare. Passed: 237-191
- EMERSON #83 – prohibits the use of funds in the bill from being used by the Internal Revenue Service to implement the individual mandate and penalties and reporting requirements of ObamaCare. Passed: 256-182
The amendments only tackle the discretionary spending for FY 2011, while leaving the mandatory funding for programs like high risk pools, the exchanges, small business tax credits, and other benefits largely intact. Since many of the law’s most popular consumer protections have yet to be finalized, the amendments may also endanger such popular provisions as the prohibition against discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to remain on their parents’ plan until age 26. During the debate on the floor, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) attempted to offer an amendment that would defund the automatic spending, but it was not included because of a procedural technicality.
Should these amendments survive in the Senate, the Department of Health and Human Services would also have to stretch its $1 billion implementation fund to maintain the hundreds of employees responsible for drafting regulations and enforcing the ACA — an impossible task given the fund’s other obligations. Of the more than 500 employees responsible for implementing the law, an untold number would find themselves without a job and the law itself would be seriously hampered, further undermining House Speaker John Beohner’s claim of, “I don’t want anyone to lose their job, whether they’re a federal employee or not.”
A recent CBS News Poll found that a majority of Americans disapprove of the GOP’s tactics “and many aren’t sure of its impact on the health care system.” According to the poll, 55 percent “disapprove of the plan to cut off funding to the new health care reforms, and just 35 percent approve. Among Republicans, approval rises to 57 percent. Forty-nine percent of independents disapprove, and 38 percent approve.”