The Republicans today drew attention to their distaste for the Affordable Care Act by forcing a vote on Senate Joint Resolution 39, a measure that could have killed a set of act implementation regulations.
Members of the Senate voted 40-59, entirely on party lines, to reject a motion that could have led to consideration of Senate Joint Resolution 39.
If adopted, the resolution would have expressed congressional disapproval of the regulations federal agencies have adopted in an effort to put the Affordable Care Act grandfather plan provisions into effect.
The Affordable Care Act is the legislative package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The grandfather provisions are supposed to help federal agencies make good on President Obama’s statement that consumers who like their health coverage will be able to keep it once Affordable Care Act provisions start to take effect.
The grandfather regulations exempt grandfathered plans from some Affordable Care Act requirements, such as requirements that plans with plan years starting on or after Sept. 23, 2010, provide first-dollar coverage for a standard package of preventive care benefits, such as mammograms and vaccinations.
New restrictions on rescissions, annual benefit limits and lifetime benefits limits are some of the provisions that will apply to grandfathered plans, and many benefits managers fear that maintaining grandfather plan status will be difficult or impossible.
Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., introduced the resolution.
The Affordable Care Act “was sold as letting people keep what they have, but the devil’s in the details,” Enzi said today on the Senate floor. “Do a little digging and it’s clear
Americans won’t able to keep what they have. The simple truth is because this new rule will drastically tie the hands of employers, few employers are expected to be able to pursue grandfather status.”
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said supporters of the resolution were “obviously standing with the insurance companies.”
Sen. Max Baucus, D- Mont., called the resolution a political stunt.
“This particular resolution would nullify a regulation essential to implementing the new health reform law,” Baucus said. “The resolution is, thus, a transparent effort to undermine the new law.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article described the resolution vote incorrectly. The vote was 40-59.