The Buzz

March 5, 2014

U.S. House passes Rep. Lynn Jenkins’ bill to suspend Obamacare fine

Jenkins’ legislation would suspend the health care law’s fine of $95 or 1 percent of taxable income imposed on Americans who don’t purchase insurance policies for 2014. The bill isn’t likely to even get a vote in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

The Buzz

The facts, faces and hum of local politics with Steve Kraske and Dave Helling

The U.S. House on Wednesday voted to delay the Affordable Care Act’s penalty on individuals who fail to sign up for health insurance.

President Barack Obama vowed to veto the bill, proposed by Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Kansas Republican.

The vote marked the 50th time the Republican-led House had voted, likely fruitlessly, to alter or repeal Obamacare. The last effort drew 22 Democrats. Wednesday’s effort was backed by 27.

Jenkins’ legislation would suspend the health care law’s fine of $95 or 1 percent of taxable income imposed on Americans who don’t purchase insurance policies for 2014. Next year the penalty is slated to go up to $325 or 2 percent of taxable income.

The bill passed 250-160.

“I am pleased that 27 House Democrats joined with House Republicans to listen and provide relief and fairness to all middle-class families,” Jenkins said in a statement after Wednesday’s vote.

Some Democrats who face tough campaigns in this fall’s midterm elections have been distancing themselves from Obamacare — or indicating an increased willingness to modify it — after the law’s rocky rollout in October, including a glitch-filled debut of federal and state health care websites.

Despite the Democratic defections, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dismissed Wednesday’s vote as a waste of time.

“As if the first 49 votes were not enough to satisfy the Republican fixation on undoing health reform, the Republican leadership is prepared to make yet another attempt to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act. Americans deserve better,” Pelosi said in a statement.

Jenkins’ bill isn’t likely to even get a vote in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

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