partlycloudy
Friday May 27th, 2016 2:12PM

House backs bill to delay health care penalty

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House on Wednesday backed a one-year delay in the penalty that individuals would have to pay for failing to sign up for health insurance, the 50th time Republicans have forced a vote to repeal, gut or change the law championed by President Barack Obama.

The vote was 250-160, with 27 Democrats joining Republicans on legislation to postpone the individual mandate under the law. The measure stands no chance in the Democratic-led Senate and the White House has threatened a veto.

The vote was another example of the election-year political maneuvering on health care. Republicans remain convinced that public dissatisfaction with the law will cost Democrats in November's contests, helping the GOP increase its majority in the House and possibly win back the Senate.

Some vulnerable Democrats in competitive races voted with the GOP, including lawmakers from Arizona, Georgia, Illinois and New Hampshire. Democratic Rep. Gary Peters, who is seeking Michigan's open Senate seat, backed the bill.

During the House debate, Republicans argued that the breaks Obama has provided to businesses facing penalties under the law should apply to average Americans.

"If the president can delay the employer mandate, where's the relief for everyone else?" asked Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan.

Republicans described a list of woes associated with the law - canceled policies, patients unable to stick with their doctors, more expensive premiums.

"The president's health care law is wreaking havoc on the American people," said Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

The 4-year-old law requires U.S. citizens and legal residents to have qualifying health care coverage or face a tax penalty based on household income. The penalty would be phased in at 1 percent of taxable income this year, 2 percent in 2015 and 2.5 percent in 2016.

Democrats said the GOP hasn't come up with a viable alternative that would expand coverage and deal with egregious insurance practices. They questioned why the House was holding another health care vote while no action has been taken on raising the minimum wage, overhauling immigration and extending unemployment insurance.

"Don't we have anything else to do?" asked Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, highlighted the fact that Republicans had once backed the notion of the individual mandate and that it was the foundation of Massachusetts' health care law signed by Gov. Mitt Romney in 2006.

After the disastrous rollout of the health care website on Oct. 1, the Obama administration has said 4 million people have signed up for private coverage through the insurance exchanges although it is not known how many of them had been uninsured. The administration has said 9 million people are eligible for Medicaid, a number that includes renewals. Outside experts estimate that the Medicaid eligible number may be lower, around 3.5 million.

Republican leaders are struggling with whether to offer an alternative before the November elections, with some in the GOP ranks favoring an option and others arguing against any single bill.

Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., who is running for the Senate, rebuffed his leadership and voted against the bill.

"Once again, we see leadership attempting to fix a disastrous law that simply cannot be fixed," Broun said in a statement. "Obamacare is broken beyond the point of repair - and the only true fix is a swift, full, repeal."
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 1 year ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 1 year ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 1 year ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 1 year ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 1 year ago )
Conviction of Putin foe sets off protest in Moscow
President Vladimir Putin's chief political foe was convicted along with his brother on Tuesday in a fraud case widely seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin, triggering one of Russia's boldest anti-government demonstrations in years.
6:03PM ( 1 year ago )
More Georgians signing up for health insurance
A federal report says more Georgians have selected health insurance plans through a federally facilitated marketplace.
4:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
Amid shouts of 'shame,' House GOP defeats gay rights measure
Democrats shouted "shame," but House Republicans switched their votes and defeated a measure to protect gay rights
8:03PM ( 1 week ago )
CDC director Freiden warns GOP Zika bill is inadequate
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that a House GOP measure to combat the Zika virus is inadequate to deal with the swelling threat to public health
7:36PM ( 1 week ago )
Trump unveils list of his top picks for Supreme Court
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, released Wednesday a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he's elected to the White House.
3:31PM ( 1 week ago )
1st US penis transplant could bring hope to maimed soldiers
A 64-year-old cancer patient has received the nation's first penis transplant, a groundbreaking operation that may also help U.S. veterans maimed by roadside bombs
8:04PM ( 1 week ago )
States dig in against directive on transgender bathroom use
Politicians in Texas, Arkansas and elsewhere are vowing defiance over the Obama administration's new directive on transgender bathroom use
9:19PM ( 1 week ago )