WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — A Congressional Research Service report finds that President has already signed 14 laws to amend, retract or simply change the Affordable Care Act, and he has also taken five steps to delay the federal law.
In the CRS report to Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, 14 minor changes have already been agreed upon by all parties involved in implementing the federal health care system, the Washington Times reports. Eligibility requirements and clarifications were the main changes to the law.
One example of an amendment came just a month after its signing in March 2010. This first change specified that the individual mandate covered veterans who are a part of TRICARE.
A more controversial change included a repeal of what many lawmakers saw as a hefty income reporting tax on small businesses for funding other spending included in the health care bill. Such cuts included $6.25 billion from Prevention and Public Health – money expected to be overpaid in subsidies to health exchange users.
The CRS report also found that President Obama has declared five independent delays in the past year, including checks to see if applicants are eligible for employer-based coverage.
The mandate was supposed to take effect Jan. 1, but in July the White House unexpectedly announced a one-year delay until 2015. Officials said more time was needed to work out information reporting requirements so they would not be too burdensome for businesses.
Consumers have until next Mar. 31 of next year if wanting to avoid penalties for 2014. Fines start as low as $95 the first year, but escalate thereafter.
Many Republicans have argues that delaying the mandate also defused a potential political problem for Democrats in next year’s congressional elections.
However, House Republican leadership is seeking a one-year delay in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling, National Review reported Tuesday.