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PPACA mandate delay bills get a hearing

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Members of the House Rules Committee on Tuesday used a hearing on the rules for considering two Republican mandate delay bills to rehash old arguments regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

One bill, H.R. 2667, the “Fairness for American Families Act” bill, introduced by Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., would create a law that would require the Obama administration to postpone implementation of PPACA’s employer coverage mandate.

The other, H.R. 2668, the “Authority for Mandate Delay Act,” introduced by Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind., would let the Obama administration postpone implementation of the individual mandate.

UPDATE: Committee members voted 6-4, along party lines, for a “closed rule” that would protect the bills against efforts to change them, or most efforts to block them, once they reach the House floor. The rule will let Democrats make one motion to block H.R. 2667 and one motion to block H.R. 2668. If both bills pass, the House will send them to the Senate in the form of a package, to help the Senate give the package a straight up-or-down vote. Republicans rejected a request by Democrats to open the bills up to changes on the House floor.

The bills are supposed to come up for votes on the House floor Wednesday.

Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., said before the vote on the H.R. 2667/H.R. 2668 rule that requiring individuals to own health insurance is essential to protecting the insurance companies in a guaranteed-issued health insurance system.

“Every Republican [health reform] proposal has had an individual mandate in it,” McDermott said. 

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., accused Republicans of simply obstructing a much needed law.

“Enough of all of this repeal business,” Hastings said. “Show me your plan.”

Young cited a recent poll from HealthPocket that found that just 12 percent of the American public support the individual mandate.

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said Democrats have brought repeal talk on themselves by creating a law that doesn’t work and, while developing the law, ignoring many Republican proposals for alternative provisions.

Those alternatives include a a proposal for creating “association health plans,” or multi-state plans that could come under the jurisdiction of a single state regulatory regime.

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., rejected Democratic allegations that Republicans in the House are responsible for gridlock in Congress.

The legislative “black hole…is the Democrat-controlled Senate,” Foxx said.

Foxx blasted Democrats who are supporting the Obama administration’s efforts to delay implementation of the PPACA employer mandate without congressional consent. She said those Democrats are acting as if they believe Congress is irrelevant.

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