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House committee moves to repeal several health care law provisions

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The House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday approved legislation that would repeal key parts, including the employer and individual mandates, of the health care reform law.

The health care reform repeal provisions, which also include repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's excise tax on costly health care plans and a tax on manufacturers of medical devices, will move to the House Budget Committee for inclusion in a future, broader, so-called budget reconciliation bill.

“This bill is a big step toward dismantling Obamacare. Through reconciliation, we have the opportunity to get a repeal bill not only through the House — but actually to the President's desk. By tearing down many of the worst parts of the law — like forcing people to buy insurance only to later tax them for it — we could stop Obamacare in its tracks and start working toward a more affordable, higher-quality, patient-centered system,” Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said in a statement following the panel's party-line 23-14 vote approving the measure.

Under the ACA employer mandate, employers with 100 or more employees are liable this year for a $2,000 per employee penalty if they do not offer coverage to at least 70% of their full-time employees. Next year and in succeeding years, the penalty will apply to employers with at least 50 employees, who — to avoid the penalty — will have to extend coverage to at least 95% of employees.

Under the individual mandate, employees not enrolled in a health care plan are liable in 2015 for a penalty of $325 or 2% of income, whichever is greater.

In addition, under the ACA excise tax provision that the committee would repeal, a 40% tax will be imposed, starting in 2018, on the portion of group health care plan premiums that exceed $10,200 for single coverage and $27,500 for family coverage.

Yet another reform law provision that the committee bill would repeal is one that imposes a 2.3% excise tax on manufacturers of medical devices. The House earlier approved a separate bill, H.R. 160, to repeal the medical device excise tax, which the White House said President Obama would veto if it won congressional approval. The Senate has yet to consider the measure.