Supporters of the measure, the Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Act, say the exemption would ensure foreign insurance companies don't gain an unfair advantage over U.S.-based plans based at Americans living overseas, as foreign companies won't have to comply with Obamacare's tax and paperwork requirements.
"If we don't pass this legislation today, people who have expatriate plans and the companies that offer them will continue to do so," said Rep. John Carney, D-Del., the bill's sponsor. "The question is whether they'll do so here in the United States and keep those workers here, or whether they'll move their operations overseas."
"American businesses can't compete based on the promise of limited and temporary relief," added Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.
A previous attempt at passing the measure before Congress adjourned for Easter recess failed when leadership tried to move the legislation forward under a suspension of the rules, which would have required a two-thirds majority.
Under regular rules Tuesday, the measure passed by a vote of 268 to 150. Ahead of the vote, the White House said it objected to the passage of the measure in its current form, saying "it would reduce consumer protections and create even more loopholes in the tax code."
"The Administration remains willing to work with the Congress to improve H.R. 4144 to address these issues and to maintain basic consumer protections for all workers," a statement from the administration said. "There are straightforward changes to the legislation, which we have shared with the Congress, that would satisfy these goals, and the Congress should pursue a solution."
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