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Senate Backs Reconciliation Bill

On December 3, the Senate approved, 52-47, H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans’ Health Care Freedom Reconciliation Act. The House approved its version of the bill on October 23 (see The Source, 10/23/15). In May, Congress approved its FY2016 budget package (S. Con. Res. 11), which included instructions to reduce the deficit by an estimated $78.9 billion over ten years (see The Source, 5/8/15); H.R. 3762 details how Congress would achieve those savings.

As amended in the Senate, the measure would repeal the individual and employer mandates to obtain or provide health insurance coverage established in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148). In addition, the bill would impose a one-year moratorium on funding for Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), instead allocating $235 million to health centers to cover the cost of providing health care not related to abortions. The bill would permit PPFA to receive funding if the organization certifies that its affiliates or clinics would not provide abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the mother’s life.

H.R. 3762 also would repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund, also established in the ACA. Currently, the law would allocate $1 billion in FY2017, $1.25 billion in FY2018-2019, $1.5 billion in FY2020-2021, and $2 billion from FY2022, onward. The fund supports preventive health care initiatives, such as clinical prevention initiatives research, public health infrastructure development, immunizations and screenings, tobacco use prevention, and health workforce training.

Along with other provisions of the bill, the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that H.R. 3762 would reduce the deficit by $78.1 billion.

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