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ACA Funding Threatened by House Committee Vote

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, June 4, 2012

A vote by the Republican-dominated House Ways & Means Committee has set the stage for the full House to consider the repeal of provisions that would provide billions of dollars in funding for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

In votes primarily along party lines, the committee voted Thursday 23-11 to repeal the excise tax on medical devices and 24-9 to repeal ACA provisions that prohibit using health savings accounts to purchase over-the-counter remedies such as cough syrup and pain killers.

Combined, the two provisions are expected to contribute an estimated $30 billion in funding for ACA.

The debate in the House Ways & Means Committee shed some light on how Republicans and Democrats plan to make their respective cases about healthcare reform over the course of this election year.

The medical device industry launched a substantial lobbying effort to remove the 2.3% excise tax from medical devices such as stents and MRI machines used by healthcare providers. Consumer items such as eyeglasses and contact lenses were never subject to the tax. If it survives the repeal effort, the excise tax will become effective on Jan. 1, 2013.

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