"Through grants for exchanges, the Affordable Care Act empowers states, giving them new authority and flexibility to serve their citizens' needs," Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said in a written statement. "This legislation would roll back those gains and hurt American families. As I've said before, bills to defund the health care law will be dead on arrival in the Senate.”
Introduced by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) in late March, the bill would eliminate the funds to the HHS secretary to award grants to states to establish the exchanges and also would rescind any unobligated funds available under the provisions.
Earlier this week, the White House released a statement of administration policy that said President Barack Obama would veto the bill if he's presented with it.
“These grants are critical support to help states develop and begin operation of exchanges that will be able to perform these functions,” the statement from the Office of Management and Budget stated.
“In fact, nearly all states have already received a planning and establishment grant that is helping them determine how their exchanges will be operated and governed,” it continued. “The Congressional Budget Office estimates that H.R. 1213 would deny $1.9 billion in funding to States and that under H.R. 1213, about half a million Americans who will be insured in 2015 under current law would instead go without coverage.”
House members will continue to debate legislation on Tuesday evening to defund another part of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act under a bill that would repeal funding for the construction of school-based clinics. The House will vote on it Wednesday.