Obama signs bipartisan tweak of healthcare law

President Obama has signed into law a bipartisan change to ObamaCare, marking a rare instance that he and Congress have agreed on a tweak to his signature legislative accomplishment.

The president announced late Wednesday that he had signed that bill, alongside eight other bills, without releasing a public statement.

The legislation, called the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) Act, had been approved overwhelmingly in both GOP-led chambers, which some members of both parties have hailed as a thawing of political tension over “fixes” to the Affordable Care Act.  

ADVERTISEMENT
“I’m very pleased that, in this instance, Congress rose above the partisan squabbling to make this improvement to the health care reform bill and I hope it’s a good omen for further cooperation,” Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenQuestions loom over Franken ethics probe State Dept. spokeswoman acknowledges 'morale issue' Democrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  MORE (D-N-H.), the Democratic co-sponsor of the bill, wrote in a statement Thursday.

Obama has signed only a handful of previous bills making adjustments to the law, many of which were passed when Democrats still controlled the House. But Republicans mostly refused to back them because they sought to repeal the law in its entirety.

The bill's Republican co-author, Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottTim Scott: Moore 'should find something else to do' Overnight Regulation: Senators unveil bipartisan gun background check bill | FCC rolls back media regs | Family leave credit added to tax bill | Senate confirms banking watchdog Hey, NYT, friendships are built on something deeper than race MORE (R-S.C.), released a statement Thursday praising the president's decision to sign the bill, while also underscoring that he remains "committed to a full repeal of the health care law."

Since 2009, lawmakers have agreed on few changes to the healthcare law, including legislation repealing a tax-filing provision that required more paperwork.

Obama gave his signature about one week after it passed the Senate. Though he had been expected to sign the bill, his delay had prompted criticism from several Republicans that he was moving too slow to sign it.

The PACE Act deals with an obscure provision in ObamaCare that changed the definition of a small employer from one with 50 employees or fewer to one with 100 employees or fewer, beginning in 2016.

The move was intended to stabilize the group market under ObamaCare, but had been protested by small businesses across the country that feared higher premiums for their workers.