On November 10, 2011, the Senate approved an amended version of H.R. 674, which would repeal a requirement that the government withhold 3% of certain payments made to private contractors – including Medicare providers -- as a credit against the contractor’s income tax. This requirement currently is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2013. The House of Representatives had approved its version of the repeal bill in October. Before passage, the Senate added language from another House-approved bill (H.R. 2576) to modify the ACA’s definition of modified adjusted gross income for purposes of determining eligibility for certain healthcare-related programs. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this change would save $13 billion over ten years, primarily by tightening Medicaid eligibility standards. Specifically, the legislation would provide that modified adjusted gross income includes both taxable and non-taxable Social Security benefits to align the definition with other federal subsidy programs. Beginning in 2014, this income definition would be used to determine financial eligibility for Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and for premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions available through Affordable Insurance Exchanges. The Senate also amended H.R. 674 to add tax credits for hiring unemployed veterans. The Senate-approved bill is expected to be considered by the House later this month.
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