Lob­by­ists push GOP to re­peal Oba­macare fees

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By Lauren Cla­son

WASH­ING­TON» The Repub­li­can ef­fort to re­peal Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s sig­na­ture health care law stalled, but lob­by­ists are push­ing the GOP to con­tinue to tar­get the pro­vi­sions the in­dus­try most de­spises: the law’s taxes.

House and Se­nate Repub­li­cans hope to push for­ward on a tax over­haul when Congress re­turns in Septem­ber, an item they pre­vi­ously de­layed in fa­vor of health care. Re­peal­ing the 2010 health care law and its cor­re­spond­ing taxes would have helped sim­plify the GOP’s up­com­ing work, but those hopes were de­flated when the Se­nate did not pass a re­peal bill last month.

“I think that’s go­ing to have to be part of it,” Se­nate Fi­nance Chair­man Or­rin G. Hatch of Utah said last week when asked if he plans to ex­am­ine health care taxes af­ter the Au­gust re­cess. The com­mit­tee over­sees tax­a­tion.

A spokesman for Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell also said lead­er­ship would “look at every­thing,” in­clud­ing health care taxes.

But House Ways and Means Chair­man Kevin Brady of Texas has re­peat­edly said he is not in­ter­ested in tak­ing up the $1 tril­lion in taxes as­so­ci­ated with the health care law, in­stead plac­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity on the Se­nate to follow through on a re­peal. That stance has not changed, ac­cord­ing to a com­mit­tee spokes­woman.

“As the chair­man has said be­fore, he be­lieves the best way to get the Oba­macare taxes out of the econ­omy is through health care re­form leg­is­la­tion like the Amer­i­can Health Care Act, which de­liv­ers re­lief from all of

Repub­li­can se­na­tor sug­gests brain tu­mor af­fected McCain vote. WASH­ING­TON»

Sen. Ron John­son sug­gested that fel­low Repub­li­can Sen. John McCain’s brain tu­mor and the af­ter-mid­night tim­ing of the vote were fac­tors in the Arizona law­maker’s de­ci­sive vote against the GOP health care bill.

In a ra­dio in­ter­view this week with “Chicago’s Morn­ing An­swer,” John­son an­swered ques­tions about the col­lapse of the years-long Repub­li­can ef­fort to re­peal and re­place Barack Obama’s Af­ford­able Care Act, his crit­i­cism of the process and McCain’s dra­matic vote.

In the early morn­ing hours July 28, the Se­nate nar­rowly rejected the leg­is­la­tion, with McCain join­ing Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Su­san Collins of Maine, de­liv­er­ing a se­ri­ous blow to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s agenda.

McCain, who had been di­ag­nosed with brain cancer, had re­turned to the Se­nate that week for the crit­i­cal votes, lift­ing GOP hopes and then dashing them.

“He has a brain tu­mor right now. That vote oc­curred at 1:30 in the morn­ing. Some of that might have fac­tored in,” Wis­con­sin’s John­son said.

Texas doc­tor gets 35 years in prison for med­i­cal fraud.

A 60-year-old Dal­las-area doc­tor has been sen­tenced to 35 years in prison for help­ing de­fraud Medi­care and Med­i­caid out of al­most $375 mil­lion.

A fed­eral judge also or­dered Dr. Jacques Roy on Wed­nes­day to pay more than $268 mil­lion resti­tu­tion. A jury in April 2016 con­victed the Rock­wall physi­cian on nine of 10 counts of de­fraud­ing a health care ben­e­fit pro­gram. — Den­ver Post wire ser­vices the Oba­macare taxes,” spokes­woman Lauren Aron­son told CQ Roll Call, re­fer­ring to the Housep­a­ssed GOP health care bill.

Med­i­cal de­vice mak­ers are still eye­ing the year’s re­main­ing agenda to re­peal the 2.3 per­cent tax on the in­dus­try af­ter a two-year hol­i­day that Congress pre­vi­ously cleared ex­pires, said Greg Crist, spokesman for the Ad­vanced Med­i­cal Tech­nol­ogy As­so­ci­a­tion, or Ad­vaMed.

The tax is set to take ef­fect again in Jan­uary. Ad­vaMed is push­ing for ac­tion through ve­hi­cles rang­ing from a tax over­haul pack­age to a Chil­dren’s Health In­surance Pro­gram reau­tho­riza­tion.

The group is launch­ing a small digital ad buy on Mon­day in key states such as Ore­gon, home of House En­ergy and Com­merce Chair­man Greg Walden, and Ohio, home of Rep. Pat Tiberi, chair­man of the Ways and Means Health Sub­com­mit­tee.

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