Senate votes to repeal unpopular 1099 provision
Blumenthal set to step down as health IT leader
Not quite a year old, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act continues to draw controversy in Washington, where last week Senate Republicans tried to repeal the law and also place a moratorium on future efforts to implement it.
Their counterparts in the House, meanwhile, were busy investigating how HHS is spending federal dollars to implement the 2010 law. The Senate also voted to eliminate an unpopular 1099 reporting requirement and debated whether the law is constitutional, two days after a federal judge said it’s not (See story, p. 6).
As expected, Senate Republicans came up short in a Feb. 2 vote on a repeal amendment that would have been attached to an air traffic control modernization and safety bill. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) did not vote on the measure, which was defeated 47-51.
“The Senate Republicans promised the American people we would vote to repeal Obamacare, and we have done that,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a video on his website. “But this fight isn’t over.”
The Senate did, however, strongly support an amendment from Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to repeal the 1099 provision, which lawyer Amy Gordon referred to as “universally hated.” That condition would have required businesses to file a form with the Internal Revenue Service for every vendor with which they had conducted a transaction worth $600.
Gordon, a partner in McDermott, Will & Emery, said many employers feared their third-party administrators would have been required to prepare many more 1099 forms, which would have driven up fees.
The repeal of the 1099 provision, which still requires action in the House, has also been a significant concern for physician practices. “They are going to be pleased when they understand it’s going to go away,” said Patrick Smith, vice president of government affairs at the Medical Group Management Association.
Dr. Cecil Wilson, president of the American Medical Association, in a statement, called the provision “unnecessary and burdensome,”