How the Repeal Obamacare Act Repeals Obamacare

We’ve gotten some questions about how H.R. 6079, the Repeal of Obamacare Act functions with respect to the Independent Payments Advisory Board (IPAB), and thought it would be helpful to explain how the bill works.

First, it is important to note that the Repeal of Obamacare Act repeals IPAB, along with the rest of Obamacare. If the bill were to become law, there is no part of IPAB or any other portion of Obamacare that would remain in effect.

There is only one provision in the law that is left in place, even though it is effectively “deadwood.”

When the House considered H.R. 5, legislation to repeal the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), we identified an issue that had been overlooked when the House previously voted to repeal Obamacare with H.R. 2. When the House adopted by incorporation on the opening day of this Congress all statutory rules in effect as part of the House Rules package, it reactivated the prohibition in Obamacare which prohibits even the Rules Committee from reporting changes regarding how the House must consider proposals submitted by IPAB.

The relevant portion of the law is found in subsection (d) of section 1899A of the Social Security Act, as added and amended by sections 3403 and 10320 of PPACA, regarding Congressional consideration of IPAB proposals, and includes this requirement:

(3)(C) Limitation on changes to this subsection.–It shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection.

This provision creates a point of order against any measure – including a rule reported by the Rules Committee – that repeals or changes the expedited procedures in the Act. This was a provision included by the Senate which feared that the House Rules Committee could modify the House expedited procedures in statute in the future and was designed to trip up later attempts to reign in the IPAB.

Fortunately, the fix for this problem is easy. The Repeal of Obamacare Act excludes this section of the law precisely to avoid litigating this point of order. A similar provision was included when the House voted on H.R. 5.

To be clear, IPAB and the authorities granted to it are repealed as is the rest of the Obamacare law. The only provision that remains is how the House must consider proposals adopted by IPAB, which is essentially moot since IPAB will no longer exist and therefore will never submit a proposal once the remainder of the law is repealed.