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Obama threatens to veto bill to repeal key health reform provisions

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President Barack Obama would veto legislation that would repeal key parts of the health care reform law, including the employer and individual mandates, if it is approved by Congress, the White House said Wednesday.

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, are part of a broader budget reconciliation bill, H.R. 3762, that the House of Representatives is expected to consider Friday.

“Repealing key elements of the Affordable Care Act would result in millions of individuals remaining uninsured or losing the insurance they have today,” the White House said in a statement. “An estimated 17.6 million Americans gained coverage as several of the Affordable Care Act's coverage provisions have taken effect — 15.3 million since the beginning of the first open enrollment in October 2013. This legislation would roll back coverage gains and would cost millions of hard-working middle-class families the security of affordable health coverage they deserve.”

Republican lawmakers, though, have a different view of the budget legislation.

“Congress has the opportunity to use a powerful but limited legislative process to advance a bill to the president's desk that will target Obamacare — a law that is doing real harm to individuals, families, physicians, workers and job creators,” House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga., said Tuesday in a statement

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 measure 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.

Other reform law provisions that the measure would repeal is one that imposes a 2.3% excise tax on manufacturers of medical devices and another that will require — once regulations are finalized — employers with at least 200 employees to automatically enroll employees who do not select a health plan offered by their employers.