Reporter's Notebook

Ways And Means Subcommittees Take Aim Again At Health Law Provisions

By Mary Agnes Carey

September 7th, 2012, 8:52 AM

After bashing President Barack Obama’s health law as part of their Tampa convention festivities,  House Republicans will focus on the measure once again when they return to Capitol Hill next week.

Photo by Karl Eisenhower/KHN

Two Ways and Means subcommittees will hold hearings focused on the Internal Revenue Service’s role in implementing the law’s tax provisions and on the measure’s creation of health insurance exchanges where eligible individuals and small businesses can purchase coverage in 2014. The panel’s oversight subcommittee will hold the IRS hearing on Tuesday at 10 a.m., while the committee’s health subcommittee will have its exchange hearing Wednesday at 10 a.m.

The GOP-controlled House has voted 33 times to repeal all or sections of the health law or to defund its implementation. The party has made attacking the law a centerpiece of its campaign to win back the White House and control Congress. With the public split over the health law, Republicans see a benefit in calling more attention to the entire measure as well as individual provisions.

Democrats are just as adamant in their defense of the health law, with former President Bill Clinton singing its praises in a speech to party delegates Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

Tax changes in the health law include changes to flexible spending arrangements and health savings accounts, a new 3.8 percent tax on investment income, a new Medicare payroll tax and taxes on medical devices.  The oversight subcommittee’s hearing will focus on how the IRS intends to handle these duties in addition to its current workload of collecting taxes, processing tax returns and administering the Earned Income Tax Credit, among other tasks.

“It is imperative that we take a close look at these new duties and consider the impact they will have on the agency and the taxpayers it serves,” subcommittee chairman Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr., R-La., said in a news release.

While the law’s health insurance exchanges are scheduled to be up and running beginning in 2014, “the necessary regulations for exchange operation, plan design and eligibility still have not been finalized by the Obama Administration, leaving many to question whether political motivations are delaying the release of much-needed guidance for states, employers and health plans,” health subcommittee chairman Rep. Wally Herger, R-Calif., said in a release.

6 Responses to “Ways And Means Subcommittees Take Aim Again At Health Law Provisions”

  1. rusty adams says:

    I am absolutely disgusted and ashamed at how I voted in 2010. I believed the lie. Now I’m a victim of buyer’s remorse. November 6th, 2012 can’t get here quick enough for me!

  2. james says:

    While Paul Ryan and his Tea Party caucus continue to hold the more reasonable members of Congress hostage, new polls are coming out regularly to suggest that likely voters are growing very weary of the evil motives of these so-called “Young Guns”…

  3. Susan says:

    I am sure C-Span will televise the hearings. I will be watching so I don’t get the word after the spin.
    Please watch and see how the legislators will be rude, sarcastic, and treat the witnesses like criminals. No respect. This is where civility has died.

  4. rusty adamson says:

    How can you tell if a Republican is lying? When they tell you that they are working hard for seniors and that they are fighting hard to save Medicare.

  5. vince phillips says:

    I cannot believe the meanspirited partisanship of these comments. The credibility problem lies with PPACA itself with the way it was passed. Implementation has been HHS and IRS flexing their muscles and expanding their control over the health care system. It is no wonder that Congress wants some oversight. Those who bash the Republicans should actually read some of the Rules being issued.

  6. David says:

    I would not put much faith in a Kaiser poll. After all, they supported the change to Obamacare and they have much to gain by its continued progress.
    As for the lying Republican, how much longer are the Democrats willing to kick the can down the road? It is like driving down the intersteate everyday on bald tires. You know it is a matter of time before they blow. You also know at 75mph it is not going to be just a dented fender! At least the young guns are willing to tackle the problem. It won’t satisfy everyone’s desires, but the it has to be fixed and it has to be fixed very soon. The old days of the fat man dying of a heart attack then telling the corps to go on a diet and eat right are over. Medicare needs to be fixed and fixed now. But then again, most liberals would rather blame others, call them names and spread fear than to be proactive.
    Lastly, check the Rasmussen poll. You will find different results than Kaiser.