A bill has been sent to President Barack Obama’s desk that would strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood for one year and repeal key provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The U.S. House passed the bill today. The U.S. Senate passed it in December.
The bill would eliminate the mandate for individuals to buy health insurance and for employers with more than 50 workers to provide insurance to employees. It also would stop all fines for people and companies that fail to comply with the mandate.
Federal subsidies would be eliminated to about 6 million low- and moderate-income Americans buying their own insurance. The law’s expansion of Medicaid for the poor would also be cut.
In addition, the bill would cut more than $500 billion from the federal deficit.
Planned Parenthood has been targeted by Republicans since anti-abortion activists released undercover videos last year allegedly showing officials with that organization talking about selling tissue from aborted fetuses. Planned Parenthood has denied making any profit from the sale of fetal tissue and says the videos would not stand up in court.
The bill would also provide $235 million in extra funding for community health centers, which Republicans say could fill the gap left by Planned Parenthood if it is defunded.
All of Missouri’s Republican Representatives supported the measure. Democrat Lacy Clay voted against it and Emmanuel Cleaver did not vote on the bill.
“President Obama refuses to accept changes to his namesake healthcare law. He will show that he cares more about protecting his legacy than fixing access to healthcare in this country,” said Southeast Missouri Congressman Jason Smith (R).
West central Missouri Republican Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler touted Republicans’ efforts.
“We were sent to Congress to fight for the American people,” said Hartzler. “They do not want their healthcare dictated to them by Washington.”
West central Missouri Republican Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer says the bill will restore Americans’ healthcare freedom.
“This is a brand new year and it is my hope that Congress can continue to get more pieces of legislation to the President’s desk that will force him to publicly decide between the interests of the American people and his own political agenda,” said Luetkemeyer.
Democrats say the Affordable Care Act has helped about 17-million Americans gain medical coverage, allowed young people to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26 and stopped insurance companies from refusing to cover patients with pre-existing conditions.
They pointed to an analysis of the repeal bill from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that found it would result in about 22-million fewer people having health insurance in the years after 2017.
Obama is expected to veto the measure. Unless supporters of the bill find more votes for it there would not be enough support in both the House and Senate to override a veto.