President Obama has already signed 14 laws that amend, rescind or otherwise change parts of his health care law, and he’s taken five independent steps to delay the Affordable Care Act on his own, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service, released Wednesday.
The release comes as congressional Republicans are pushing for a halt or outright repeal of the whole law, and as Mr. Obama and his allies decry that as a waste of time and an effort to undermine his signature political achievement.
CRS, in the report to Sen. Tom Coburn, said all sides have already agreed to 14 laws that changed parts of Obamacare, though they were usually minor changes or clarifications.
The ink from Mr. Obama’s signature on the original law was barely dry when, a month later, Congress made the first change, specifying eligibility for veterans who are part of TRICARE. The point was to make sure the law recognized that coverage as meeting the individual mandate. Over the next two years, Congress regularly tweaked those kinds of eligibility requirements.
But CRS said Mr. Obama and Congress also made some bigger changes, including repealing what all sides agreed to be a burdensome income reporting tax on small businesses, repeatedly dipping into provisions of Obamacare to use money for other spending.
Those cuts included $6.25 billion from Prevention and Public Health and recapturing some of the money that was expected to be overpaid in subsidies to users of the health exchanges.
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Mr. Obama has also acted on his own, declaring five separate delays this year. Most recently he announced one-year delays on checking the applicants for exchanges to see if they should have employer-based coverage.