The House passed a bill to prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from implementing or enforcing the Affordable Care Act before heading home for Congress’s August recess, but the legislation has little chance of advancing in the Senate.
The bill, known as the Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act, passed by a vote of 232 to 185 on a mostly party line vote, with four Democrats joining Republicans to approve the measure. It was one of a number of bills introduced by House Republicans in recent weeks penalizing the IRS for recent scandals and the 40th bill aimed at repealing or gutting the Affordable Care Act.
Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., issued a statement applauding passage of the bill he had introduced. “By voting to prohibit the IRS from implementing or enforcing any part of President Obama’s health care law, the House of Representatives has taken an important step toward protecting the health care of American citizens today,” he said. “The Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act has the support of over 140 co-sponsors in the House and has been endorsed by numerous organizations and thousands of Americans who share our commitment to preventing any of our fellow citizens from having to answer to the IRS when it comes to their personal health care decisions. The IRS clearly has not been able to prudently and impartially enforce current tax laws. It has abused its authority by targeting individuals and organizations. There’s no reason to trust this massive agency with one of the most personal aspects of our lives—our health care. Instead, we ought to be empowering individuals and families to make their own health care decisions. There are many positive ways to pursue a patient-centered health care system. But to get there, we need the Obama administration and Senate Democrats to stop siding with the Washington bureaucracy and to start standing up for the rights and health care choices of the American people.”
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, also commended passage of the bill. “The IRS has shown it cannot be trusted to implement the president’s train wreck of a health care law, and Dr. Tom Price’s legislation stops the agency from doing so,” he said in a statement. “This is only right in light of the IRS’s abusive conduct, and I hope President Obama will support it just as he has the seven bills he signed that repeal or defund parts of his health care law. In the meantime, we will continue with a series of targeted votes in the House aimed at ending this law—because patients and doctors should be in charge of health care decisions, not Washington and certainly not the IRS.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., criticized House Republicans for their repeated focus on repealing all or part of the Affordable Care Act and urged them to focus instead on creating jobs and growing the economy.
“Forty is a number that is fraught with meaning in the Bible: 40 hours, 40 days, 40 years in the desert,” she said in a speech on the House floor. “But it’s fraught with nothing when it comes to overturning the Affordable Care Act as they are trying to do for the 40th time today. When our Republican colleagues vote for this bill, they will vote to put insurance companies back in charge of people’s health. When they vote for this bill, they will be voting for an initiative that deprives patients of their rights, of ending making a pre-existing condition a reason for discrimination. That’s what a vote for this does.”