October 15, 2013
Updated October 16, 2013
-Government funded through January 15
-Debt limit extended until February 7
-A budget conference established to come up with long-term spending plans by December 13
-Income verification for recipients of subsidies under Obamacare’s newly-established exchanges
As the countdown to the emerging debt ceiling begins, the House and Senate are desperately trying to come up with deals to reopen the government and avoid default before October 17.
When House Republicans refused to fund the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the government entered a shutdown.
The latest updates involve the House leadership’s proposal, which includes a requirement that members of Congress get health care under the exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act. As it is now, there is no verification in place for income of recipients of subsides under the ACA, but House Republicans want that changed. They also want the medical device tax to be delayed, which will eliminate “protections for labor unions,” they argue.
Dentists, orthodontists, and dental industry experts have been claiming that the tax isunfair to dentistry because it doesn’t benefit from the expansion of care that the ACA promises. Yet, recent developments in insurance planning have shown that part of the essential health benefits of small companies must include pediatric dental coverage. Soon, more children will be granted dental benefits that they didn’t have before, as a result of the ACA.
We’ve seen the MDT come to the forefront in political debates and deals before, to no avail. It’s unlikely that the medical industry will ever see the tax eliminated, but it’s not for a lack of effort.
What else is in the House deal?
Besides delaying the medical device tax for two years, this is what the House proposes:
- Funding the government at sequestration levels until January 15
- Raising the debt limit until February 7
- Income verification for recipients of subsidies under the ACA
- A requirement that all members of Congress and of the cabinet sign up for the ACA, with no employer contribution
- Ending the ability of the treasury to take “extraordinary measures” to avoid default in the future
The House deal, which came out this morning, is unconstitutional; the 27th amendment to the Constitution reads: “[n]o law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.” Minutes ago, the White House issued a statement, saying that the deal was basically ransom set to appease a small group of people (the Tea Party), who “forced the government shutdown in the first place,” and that the administration is not interested in the deal.
We’ll keep you posted on the position of the medical device tax throughout the deal making.
Go to ThinkProgressfor a live update of what’s happening in Washington today.