Sept. 20—The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Friday morning to keep the government operating while eliminating funding for the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The so-called continuing resolution is a must-pass measure that would fund government operations from Oct.1-Dec. 15. Only one Democrat joined Republicans in passing the bill by a vote of 230-189.

Senate Democrats have vowed to reverse the measure, but lawmakers will have to eventually compromise to keep “nonessential” federal functions operating. In the case of a shutdown, Medicare payments would continue to be processed, according to federal officials.

The vote came as a last-ditch effort to stop implementation of the central pillars of the ACA: the launch of new health insurance marketplaces (also known as exchanges) and an expansion of Medicaid in at least 25 states. Enrollment for both the marketplaces and expanded Medicaid coverage begins Oct. 1.

“We have said over and over again that this law is going to increase the costs for the working middle class of this country, and we are now seeing it,” Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), said shortly after the vote. “That’s why we are doing our job, and now it is up to Senate Democrats to do [their] job and follow the House’s lead.”

Senate Democrats indicated they plan to strip the ACA funding ban from the measure and return it to the House.

“Republicans are simply postponing for a few days the inevitable choice they must face: Pass a clean bill to fund the government, or force a shutdown,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement issued Friday. “I have said it before, but it seems to bear repeating: The Senate will not pass any bill that defunds or delays Obamacare.“

The vote followed the White House’s instructions earlier in the week for federal agencies to begin preparations for a government shutdown—in case Congress and the administration are unable to resolve the ACA funding issue before Oct. 1.  

Publication Date: Friday, September 20, 2013