American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Consumers

FEDERAL | ACA Repeal Passes Congress, Vetoed by President

The House began the second session of the 114th Congress by sending a bill to the President's desk that included repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). House Republicans had vowed to repeal the ACA and, on January 6, they kept their promise by passing the Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act. The Senate amended and passed the bill in December. The vote to pass the bill largely came down to partisan lines, as pro-life Representative Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) was the only Democrat to vote in favor of the measure and Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) and John Katko (R-N.Y.) were the only Republicans to vote against it. Since the ACA became law in 2010, this is the first time a bill to repeal it has passed Congress.

As expected, President Obama vetoed the legislation on January 8. This was the eighth veto of Obama's presidency and the sixth since Republicans gained the majority in Congress last year. While Republicans lack the two-thirds majority necessary to override the veto, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has promised to hold a veto override vote, which is expected late January. The legislation was passed using a fast-track budget tool known as reconciliation, which allowed the bill to pass the Senate with a simple majority rather than the 60-vote threshold normally required to overcome a filibuster.

The bill would have defunded Planned Parenthood for one year and boosted funding for community health centers. While it did not repeal all of the ACA, it would have undone key components of the program, including Medicaid expansion and federal subsidies to help purchase health insurance. The repeal would have been delayed until 2018, which Republicans said would allow them time to implement a replacement for the ACA. Additionally, the bill would have eliminated the individual and employer mandates and delayed many of the law's taxes, including the medical device tax and the "Cadillac Tax." The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would have reduced the deficit by a total of $516 billion over the next decade.