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.  


“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 ShaheenOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — House passes sweeping Pelosi bill to lower drug prices | Senate confirms Trump FDA pick | Trump officials approve Medicaid work requirements in South Carolina Senate confirms Trump's nominee to lead FDA Senate panel advances Turkey sanctions bill despite Trump objections 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 ScottTrump to sign order penalizing colleges over perceived anti-Semitism on campus: report Here are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump GOP senators unveil bill to expand 'opportunity zone' reporting requirements 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.