House Republicans passed another Obamacare repeal bill Thursday, this one indirectly aimed at the law’s employer mandate — but, following in the footsteps of almost all of the other repeal bills that came before it, this is likely the end of the line for the proposal.
The bill passed 248 to 179. But the Senate looks unlikely to take up the bill, and even if it somehow cleared through the upper chamber, the White House has pledged to veto it.
The legislation would repeal the provision in Obamacare that sets 30 hours a week as the threshold for defining a full-time employee, raising it to 40 hours a week. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) argued on the House floor Wednesday that the 30-hour rule had encouraged businesses to cut workers’ hours — so repeal would increase hours and therefore wages.
It would also lighten the load of the law’s employer mandate on businesses because the mandate’s penalties are determined by each company’s number of full-time employees.
But the Congressional Budget Office estimated that repealing the 30-hour rule would result in 500,000 more uninsured Americans and a $74 billion increase in the federal deficit over the next 10 years.
The vote is yet another example of the limited options that the House GOP possesses in attacking Obamacare, after the Obama administration has already taken unilateral actions to soften the employer and individual mandates.