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Promised veto looks to stop ACA repeal bill, but employers hopeful

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The House of Representatives Wednesday approved and sent to President Barack Obama budget legislation that would repeal key provisions of the health care reform law.

The legislation, H.R. 3762, approved on a 240-181 near party-line vote and certain to face a presidential veto, would repeal provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Cared Care Act that impose penalties on employers that do not offer coverage to at least 95% of their full-time employees.

Employers this year also face a penalty, which is $3,240 per affected employee, if they offer coverage that exceeds 9.5% of the employee's household income and the worker uses a federal premium subsidy to obtain coverage in a public exchange.

The measure, which already has been approved by the Senate, also includes a provision that would repeal the 40% excise tax on the portion of group health care premiums that exceed $10,200 for single coverage and $27,500 for family coverage. President Obama already has signed separate legislation that delayed imposition of the Cadillac tax until 2020.

The White House said earlier that President Obama would veto the latest budget reconciliation measure, and observers say congressional supporters lack enough votes to override the veto.

While the measure is likely to die, employer groups hope it will lead to new congressional action to kill the excise tax, the employer mandate and other objectionable ACA provisions.

“While we do not expect any tangible results from this current budget reconciliation measure, we do hope that it presages further congressional efforts to tackle and revamp some key remaining pieces of the ACA, such as repeal of the 40% excise tax, as well as elimination of the employer mandate and attendant reporting requirements,” said Gretchen Young, senior vice president of health policy at the ERISA Industry Committee in Washington.