Obama vetoes bill that would have dismantled the ACA

The bill would have scrapped the law's Medicaid expansion, among other provisions

President Obama on Friday vetoed a budget reconciliation bill that would repeal major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

"This legislation would cost millions of hard-working middle-class families the security of affordable health coverage they deserve.  Reliable health care coverage  would no longer be a right for everyone:  it would return to being a privilege for a few," Obama said in statement.

He added, "Because of the harm this bill would cause to the health and financial security of millions of Americans, it has earned my veto."

Background

The House passed the measure on Wednesday, which marked the first time such a bill had passed both chambers of Congress and been sent to the president's desk.

The Senate previously passed the measure via the budget reconciliation process. The process allows legislation to advance through the Senate on a simple majority vote by avoiding legislative hurdles that lawmakers typically would need 60 votes to bypass. However, it can only be used for measures that address spending and revenue, meaning it could not be used to repeal the entire ACA.

Supporters of the reconciliation bill likely will not have the votes to override the veto, according to USA Today. However, some Republicans have said the bill's passage still carries symbolic importance.

"Now, is someone named Obama going to sign a bill into law repealing Obamacare? Of course not," House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) said on Thursday. "But we have now demonstrated that, if we elect a Republican president, we can use this same path to repeal Obamacare without 60 votes in the Senate."

Bill details

Among other provisions, the bill would have:

  • Eliminated funding for the ACA's Medicaid expansion and insurance premium subsidies starting in 2018;
  • Repealed the ACA's so-called "Cadillac Tax" on high-end health plans, the law's taxes on medical devices, and other revenue provisions; and
  • Scrapped the law's individual and employer mandates.

The measure also would have defunded Planned Parenthood (Fabian, The Hill, 1/8; USA Today, 1/6; Obama statement, 1/8).


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