Health-reform law has been substantively changed at least 14 times, most recently by Kentucky’s Rep. Brett Guthrie

While the debate over repealing “Obamacare” has polarized Washington and the country, Congress occasionally passes amendments to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The latest, signed by President Obama Oct. 7, was sponsored by Republican Rep. Brett Guthrie of Kentucky’s Second District.

Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky.

“There are a lot of things in the bill that need fixing. I’m for repeal and replace,” Guthrie told Gregory Korte of USA Today. “But here’s the situation: You have people being negatively affected, and so can we find a way to work together to fix it?”

Guthrie’s Protecting
Affordable Coverage for Employees Act will
“maintain the current definition of the small group market for health
insurance as employers with one to 50 employees,” a release from Guthrie’s office said. “That definition was set to expand under the Affordable Care Act to employers with one to 100 employees on Jan. 1,” notes Stephanie Salmons of The Messenger-Inquirer in Owensboro.

Guthrie’s release said, “The small group insurance market has increased mandates and
restrictions under Obamacare,so those workers
who would have been forced into the small group market would have seen
disruption in their coverage and increased cost.”

The bill was “passed by both chambers without a single ‘no’ vote and signed by the president with no controversy or fanfare,” USA Today reports. “Obama has signed at least 14 bills making substantive changes in his signature legislation,” eight of them Republican bills, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Obamacare critic Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute
“said the congressional action comes just
under the wire, as insurance companies finish pricing contracts for 2016
coverage,” USA Today reports. “And the quick, businesslike way in which the bill was passed
just shows that neither side saw any benefit in politicizing the issue,
she said.”

“I think here the White House certainly doesn’t want to announce with big fanfare that the Republican Congress
has led on making changes on the president’s health law,” Turner said.
“And the Republicans don’t want to say that they’re fixing it, because
they want to repeal it entirely.”

Guthrie said his bill affects every congressional district in the nation. “Not everybody has a Fortune
10 or 15 business in their district, but everyone has small to
medium-sized businesses,” he told Salmons.

For example, Sterett Crane and Rigging
in Owensboro will avoid a 14 percent premium increase “just based on the demographics
of our workforce,” human resource manager Dee Dee Jackson told Salmons. If the law had not been changed, Sterett would have been pooled with larger employers “who might have higher
claims, possibly leading to premium increases because of those larger
claims, she said.” The company has 96
employees, about 64 of whom are eligible for benefits.

“Unbeknownst to the public, there is actually some governing going on,” Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told USA Today. But he added, “I’m not sure this relatively modest
measure will pave the way for a raft of bipartisan consensus around the
health law. None of the changes strike at the heart of
the law or change it in any substantial way. So maybe it’s a little
overstated to say it’s actual governing.”

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