By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff
While Senate Republicans try to find common ground on a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) repeal and replace bill, House Republicans are also looking to limit Internal Revenue Service (IRS) enforcement of the ACA individual mandate provision through the budget process. The House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee approved an IRS budget bill that would both cut IRS funding as well as limit IRS enforcement of Internal Revenue Code Sec. 5000A.
In addition to cutting the IRS budget by $149 million from 2017 enacted levels, the bill specifies that none of the funds made available are permitted to be used by the IRS to "implement or enforce" the ACA’s individual mandate requiring minimum essential coverage. Under Code Sec. 5000A, individuals are required to pay a penalty with a taxpayer’s tax return if qualifying health care coverage is not obtained.
The Senate GOP’s health care draft that was pulled from a floor vote for not garnishing enough intraparty support also addresses the ACA’s individual mandate by repealing the provision. However, to discourage healthy individuals on insurance plans from leaving, the Senate bill would require individuals who lack current coverage for more than two months to wait six months before obtaining new coverage.
The House health care bill (H.R. 1628), as passed on May 4, 2017, would permit insurance companies to impose up to a 30-percent premium penalty for up to a year on those who let their insurance lapse for more than two months. The House Appropriation’s budget bill has no such incentive.
According to House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee ranking member Mike Quigley (D-Ill), the House IRS budget bill contains riders to "undermine the ACA (and) punish the IRS..." "Until—and unless—we strengthen this proposal through bipartisan efforts void of unproductive riders, I cannot support this bill," Quigley told the subcommittee’s members during markup.
The bill will next move to the full House Appropriations Committee for consideration. If enacted, the government funding bill for FY 2018 would go into effect October 1, 2017.
Legislation: FederalLegislation AgencyNews IndividualMandateNews PenaltyNews FedTracker HealthCare Tax TrumpAdministrationNews
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