House passes healthcare defunding bill
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) argued that even if states receive planning grants and authorize their own exchanges, they don’t truly have flexibility over how to structure the new insurance marketplaces. The reform law sets criteria that every exchange, state-run or otherwise, must meet. States aren’t free to set up their own exchanges unless they can explore options outside of those mandates, Burgess said.
Pallone offered an amendment to require a Government Accountability Office study into the benefits of state-run versus federal exchanges. It failed, as did all of the amendments to the proposal.
Five Democrats crossed party lines to vote for the final bill: Reps. Jason Altmire (Pa.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Luis Gutierrez (Ill.), Tim Holden (Pa.) and Mike McIntyre (N.C.). Gutierrez’s office, however, said his vote was an accident and he had intended to vote “no.”
The House postponed a vote on a separate bill that would cut the healthcare law’s funding for school-based health clinics. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the cuts would save the government roughly $100 million over the next decade. The exchange de-funding measure would save $14 billion over the same period, CBO said.
—This story was updated with comments from Gutierrez’s offce.
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