CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, May 3, 2011, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 1213, an Act to repeal the mandatory funding provided to states in the Patient Protections and Affordable Care Act to establish American Health Benefit Exchanges. The rule provides for one hour of debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Additionally, the rule makes in order amendments printed in the Rules Committee report accompanying H.Res. 236 and provides for one motion to recommit with or without instructions. The amendments printed in the report are summarized below. H.R. 1213 was introduced by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) on March 29, 2011, and was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
H.R. 1213 would repeal section 1311(a) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a provision appropriating funds to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to states for activities, including planning activities, related to establishing state health insurance exchanges. The bill would also rescind any unobligated balances made available under the provision.
According to Energy and Commerce committee, Section 1311(a) of the health care law appropriates funds in the “amount necessary to enable the HHS Secretary to make awards” to states for various activities related to health insurance exchanges. In other words, the Secretary has an unlimited tap on the U.S. Treasury to set up state-based exchanges without any further Congressional approval.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates, the bill would reduce deficits by almost $13 billion over the 2012-2016 period and by about $14 billion over the 2012-2021 period. The bill would reduce direct spending by an estimated $14.6 billion over the next 10 years.
Amendment No. 1—Rep. Jackson-Lee (D-TX): The amendment would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to post on the Department’s website a public notice of the rescission of unobligated balances under Section 1311(a) of the PPACA and the amount rescinded.
Amendment No. 2—Rep. Waters (D-CA): The amendment would require, within six months after the date of enactment, that the Secretary of Health and Human Services submit to Congress a report on the extent to which states are expected to have difficulties establishing Health Benefit Exchanges without the federal assistance repealed and rescinded under this bill.
Amendment No. 3—Rep. Ellsion (D-MN): The amendment would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to submit to Congress a report on the impact of H.R. 1213 on the possible delays and potential enrollment reductions to Health Benefit Exchanges.
Amendment No. 4—Rep. Pallone (D-NJ): The amendment would require GAO to report on benefits of funding in setting up state run exchanges that reflect that state's marketplace, as opposed to state exchanges established and operated by the federal government.
Amendment No. 5—Rep. Welch (D-VT): (Amendment in the nature of a substitute) The amendment would preserve funding for establishment of Health Benefit Exchanges for states that apply for early innovator grants before 2012. The funds used shall be subject to availability of appropriations up to $1.9 billion.