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House to Vote on Employer, Individual Mandate Delays, Senate Considers ‘Nuclear Option’

The House will vote this week to codify the Obama administration’s decision to delay the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate and the subsequent decision to delay the individual mandate, both for one year. The employer mandate requires businesses with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance for their workers or face a penalty of up to $3,000 per employee. The individual mandate requires most people to have minimum coverage or face a noncompliance penalty. The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee and the Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee will also hold hearings regarding the delays Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Next week the Energy and Commerce Committee will mark up legislation to change the sustainable growth rate formula for Medicare physician payments. The committee expects the bill to pass before the August recess.

This week the Senate will likely consider changing its existing rule requiring a filibuster-proof 60 votes for executive nominations, instead requiring only a simple majority of 51 votes for passage – termed the “nuclear option.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has downplayed the impact of this change, citing the need the need to confirm presidential nominees and fill federal agency positions.

The Senate Finance Committee is holding a hearing Wednesday titled, Health Information Technology: A Building Block to Quality Health Care.

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