Cadillac The Cadillac Tax, aprovision of the original ACA, has been delayed time and again, asemployers and others in the health care industry decry theunnecessary burden it would create. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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After all the wrangling and hand-wringing about the so-calledCadillac tax on pricey employer health plans,it may actually meet its demise in the must-pass funding bill tokeep the government from shutting down on Friday.

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The health care industry has two other causes to celebrate thepassage of the bill, reports Politico, since the legislation also repeals a2.3 percent tax on medical devices and a health insurance fee. Allthree measures were designed originally to help pay for theAffordable Care Act.

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"We commend congressional leaders for setting the stage forpermanently repealing the Cadillac Tax, the HIT, and the MDT, whichwould finally put an end to the higher health costs that come fromthe taxes and would improve access to more affordable coverage,"the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of many outspoken critics of thetaxes, said in a statement.

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Related: The Cadillac Tax: Separating myth fromfact

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The Cadillac Tax, a provision of the original ACA, has beendelayed time and again, as employers and others in the health careindustry decry the unnecessary burden it would create. "We can'ttax our way out of this problem," said Brian Marcotte, Presidentand CEO of the National Business Group on Health. "Roughly 30percent of health care spending is wasted on unnecessary or poorlydelivered care. Congress should focus on the drivers of medicalinflation and unnecessary costs rather than taxing employees andemployers."

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The spending bill doesn't do much in the way of tackling healthcare costs or surprise billing, although it does provide cash forgun violence research—something that hasn't happened in more than20 years. The bill also provides two years of Medicaid funding forPuerto Rico and other U.S. territories—less than the four years'funding originally sought by measures from the Senate FinanceCommittee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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One provision aimed at helping pay for the package isprovisioning to make it easier for generic drug companies to obtainsamples of brand-name drugs needed to develop lower-cost competingproducts, dubbed the CREATES Act. That piece of legislation, saysthe report, "also makes it easier for generic products to come tomarket when the brand-name drug is subject to a specialFDA-mandated safety program known as REMS. It is projected to savenearly $4 billion over a decade."

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The bill also protects "silver-loading;" forbids HHS from endingauto-reenrollment in the ACA exchanges; and designates 10 years offunding for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, anACA holdover that sponsors comparative-effectiveness research toevaluate which health treatments pose the greatest benefits andharms. PCORI, according to the report, would otherwise have lostfunding by the end of this year; instead, this provision wouldprovide $2.9 billion through 2029.

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The year-end spending measures—12 of them for fiscal 2020—arebeing grouped into two packages that will be considered separately,according to the report. The first group will encompass Defense,Homeland Security, Commerce-Justice-Science and Financial Servicesmeasures, while the second will tackle the rest: Agriculture-FDA,Labor-HHS-Education, Energy-Water, Interior-Environment,State-Foreign Operations, Transportation-HUD, MilitaryConstruction-VA and Legislative Branch.

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