Last week, House Republicans released legislation to repeal the federal health reform law, making good on their pledge to work to eliminate the law if it was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, The Hill's "Floor Action Blog" reports (Kasperowicz, "Floor Action Blog," The Hill, 7/6).
The House is expected to vote on the bill on Wednesday, following a series of hearings by several House committees on issues related to the overhaul and the high court's ruling.
On Tuesday, the House Ways and Means Committee will conduct a hearing to discuss the tax effects of the high court's ruling, which deemed that the law's individual mandate can stand because it constitutes a tax.
Also on Tuesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will conduct two hearings on the law. The panel's health subcommittee will discuss the law's effect on patients and physicians before the full committee examines the overhaul's economic implications (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 7/9).
According to NPR's "Morning Edition," the House is expected to pass the bill Wednesday, but it would be largely symbolic because the Democrat-controlled Senate is not expected to approve it. The House vote will mark the 31st attempt by the House Republican majority over the past 18 months to repeal, defund or dismantle the overhaul, according to NPR (Keith, "Morning Edition," NPR, 7/9).
Details of Bill
The seven-page bill, by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), charges that the reform law has not lowered health care costs and that it has had negative effects on workers and the economy ("Floor Action Blog," The Hill, 7/6).
Unlike a 2011 House-approved repeal bill (HR 2), the new legislation includes a list of findings to explain the rationale for the repeal effort, CQ Today reports. According to the bill, the Affordable Care Act "imposes 21 new or higher taxes" on individuals and businesses and more than half of those taxes are on families earning less than $250,000.
The bill also targets the law's Independent Payment Advisory Board, stating that it would limit access to care for elderly residents (Attias, CQ Today, 7/6). However, the bill maintains a subsection on rules governing IPAB, which outlines how Congress would vote on cuts recommended by the board, according to Politico (Haberkorn, Politico, 7/6).
The new repeal also highlights Republicans' opposition to abortion regulations in the law, which the GOP says violates religious beliefs. "[T]he law effectively forces millions of individuals to personally pay a separate abortion premium in violation of their sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs," the bill states ("Floor Action Blog," The Hill, 7/6).
Meanwhile in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other GOP senators have "left open the possibility" of taking a piecemeal approach to repeal the law, CQ Today reports. However, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) -- chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee -- said he and other Republicans have concerns that such an approach could give vulnerable Democratic incumbents an opportunity to sway independent voters ahead of the elections (CQ Today, 7/6).