New PPACA fix draws unusual battle linesBlog added by Denis Storey on May 1, 2014
Denis Storey

Denis Storey

Centennial, CO

Joined: September 29, 2010

My Company

An odd battle is shaping up on Capitol Hill this week over a PPACA revision some Democrats actually back.

It’s a fix most agree has been needed since day one. The House bill, proposed by Rep. John Darney, D-Delaware, would exempt health plans sold to expats from the Patient Protection and Affordable Car Act’s minimum essential coverage mandate. You can read more about the Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Act here.

The administration, naturally, came out against the bill, while stopping just short of the standard veto threat. The Office of Budget and Management released a statement making their position clear.

“The administration does not support House passage of H.R. 4414, the Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Act, in its current form, because it would reduce consumer protections and create even more loopholes in the tax code,” it read.

“There are straightforward changes to the legislation, which we have shared with the Congress, that would satisfy these goals, and the Congress should pursue a solution.”

White House rancor aside, the 268-150 vote is a rare display of bipartisanship at a time when it couldn’t be more welcome.

It’s refreshing to see Democrats not only break rank with the White House here — probably in a bid to show some flexibility ahead of the midterms — but to actually be the party that sponsored this bill. And in this age of more rules and regulations, it’s a long overdue reminder that the party still supports capitalism, and the fairness this fix brings to the health care law and the domestic carriers trying to make a living under its shadow.

Equally surprising — in an “I found a $20 bill in my pants pocket” kinda way — is the overwhelming support the House GOP showed for this bill. It would have been all too easy, and predictable, for them to have rejected it out of hand. After dozens of meaningless votes at repealing PPACA, it’s encouraging to Republicans working with Democrats to make it better. It usually makes more sense to replace the carpeting or repaint that old fixer upper rather than raze the whole building.

But what do I know?

Oh, and in case you were worried about too much Beltway kumbaya, the GOP just stuffed the latest Democratic effort at raising the minimum wage. Thank God everything’s back to normal.

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