House Votes to Block IRS from Enforcing Health Reform
In its last action before a five-week summer recess, the House voted late last week to prohibit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from enforcing or carrying out any provision of the Affordable Care Act. Approved in a largely party-line 232-185 vote, the bill, dubbed “Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act” (H.R. 2009) now goes to the Senate, where it has virtually no chance of approval. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill on the grounds that it would undermine the ACA’s efforts to expand healthcare coverage, meaning that the bill will not become law.
Under the ACA, the IRS will provide tax credits on a sliding scale to low- and moderate-income people to help them buy private insurance in the state-based Health Insurance Exchanges. Beginning in 2014, the IRS can impose penalties on people who go without insurance. It will also begin enforcing penalties on larger employers that fail to offer coverage to full-time employees in 2015, a provision that was delayed by one year in an announcement by the Obama Administration this summer.
Last week’s vote was the 40th that the House Republican majority has taken to block or repeal the Affordable Care Act. Most of the law’s provisions are set to go live on January 1, 2014.