Congress makes first major dent in health care law

Congress on Tuesday passed the first major changes to last year’s health care law, undoing both a burdensome paperwork requirement for small businesses and rewriting part of the way the health exchange subsidies are paid for.

The changes are complex and don’t affect the fundamental operations of the health law, but Republicans said they are symbolic nonetheless because they mark the first repeals of significant provisions from Democrats’ signature legislative achievement under President Obama.

The bill passed the Senate on Tuesday with strong bipartisan support, 87-12, and goes to Mr. Obama, who will face a big test over whether to sign it. He has said he wants to repeal the paperwork requirement, but the administration has objected to rewriting the way subsidies in the exchange are funded, arguing it may make people less enthusiastic about joining.

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