House Democrats today used a health insurance executive pay tax provision to attack the American Health Care Act draft, the new Republican Affordable Care Act de-funding measure, at two heated committee markups.
The House Ways & Means Committee held one markup of the measure, and the House Energy & Commerce Committee held a markup at the same time.
The ACA now limits the deduction health insurers can take on top executives’ pay to $500,000. Ways & Means Democrats repeatedly blasted an AHCA provision that could eliminate the cap altogether.
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“That we give them a tax break seems somewhat counterintuitive,” Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., said.
Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., mocked the provision. “We’re going to immediately alleviate the pain and suffering these insurance executives have right now by lifting the cap,” he said.
The AHCA draft would delay the onset of the ACA Cadillac plan tax on high-cost health benefits, but Crowley said the AHCA should include immediate, permanent repeal of that tax.
Both Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce streamed their markups live on the web.
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., the Energy & Commerce chairman, said his committee and Ways & Means are supposed to review, and, possibly, amend their versions of the draft, and send their versions to the House Budget Committee.
The House Budget Committee is supposed to reconcile the two versions, then send the reconciled version to the House Rules Committee, Walden said.
The Rules Committee would set the rules for bringing the measure up on the House floor.
If the House passes the measure, it would then send the measure to the Senate. Through a special budget measure consideration process that depends partly on decisions by the Senate parliamentarian about whether particular provisions are germane to the budget, the Senate could then approve the measure with just 51 votes. Supporters of legislation normally need support from 60 senators to get legislation through the Senate.