Idaho Republican Reps. Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson joined their GOP colleagues July 17 to delay key components of the Affordable Care Act, delaying both the individual mandates—the requirement on individuals to buy health insurance for a year—and the requirement that businesses with five or more workers provide insurance coverage or pay a penalty.
The votes marked the 38th and 39th times that the GOP House majority has tried to eliminate, defund or scale back Obamacare since Republicans gained control of the House in January 2011. It's unlikely that the Democrat-controlled Senate will advance the latest efforts.
"[Wednesday's] legislation is an important step in minimizing the damage of Obamacare," said Labrador. "But our goal will continue to be full repeal as soon as possible—for the sake of our economy, for the sake of our health care, and for the sake of our Constitution.”
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama took the offensive early today, arguing that his signature piece of legislation is working by holding up as proof half a billion dollars in rebates insurance companies are sending to some 8.5 million consumers as a result.
The White House says that the rebates are averaging about $100.
A part of the ACA already in place. the so-called “medical loss ratio” requires insurers to keep no more than 20 percent of premiums for profit and administrative costs. If insurance companies exceed this threshold they are required by the ACA to return the difference.
Additionally, a study conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services set to be released today shows that health-insurance costs in the health insurance exchanges may be lower than expected. Of 11 states included in the study, the cost for the cheapest “silver plan” to be offered in the exchanges will be, on average, 18 percent lower than estimates made by the Congressional Budget Office. (Policies in the exchanges will be categorized as bronze, silver, gold or platinum, depending on how comprehensive their coverage is.)