TECHNOLOGY:

Se­nate votes to re­peal un­pop­u­lar 1099 pro­vi­sion

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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,”

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