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Health Care Repeal Bill Up for Vote on Wednesday

3 years ago
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After a weeklong reprieve from partisan battles, Democrats and Republicans returned to the floor of the House on Tuesday to debate the repeal of the health care reform law.

The new bill, due for a vote in the House on Wednesday, is officially known as the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act," and is largely seen as a symbolic gesture. It stands little chance of coming before the Senate for a vote -- where a Democratic majority is firmly in place -- and it faces the threat of a presidential veto should it actually pass both houses.

Despite the seeming futility of the repeal movement, the debate provided both sides of the aisle with a valuable messaging opportunity.

For Democrats, the mere mention of health care reform was virtually radioactive during the 2010 midterm elections. But now, the repeal effort has allowed, if not forced, them to stand behind legislation passed largely by their own party and to (finally) extoll its provisions, many of which are not understood by the public.

At an unofficial hearing on Tuesday, Democratic congressional leaders sought to highlight several key elements of the current law that would be overturned should Republicans succeed in their repeal effort. They included provisions to:

-- Prevent insurance companies from rejecting coverage to an estimated 129 million Americans under the age of 65 who have pre-existing conditions;

-- Extend parental health insurance to children under the age of 26;

-- Close the so-called "donut hole" for seniors relying on Medicare prescription drug coverage;

-- End lifetime benefit caps.

The Democrats also said that an estimated $230 billion would be added to the federal deficit if the law is repealed.

Democratic leaders, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) and Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), heard testimony from Americans who have already seen improved care as a result of the new health care law.

Aligning the Affordable Care Act with landmark legislation such as the Voting Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act, Clyburn said, "We've heard some of the same rhetoric around patient's rights that we heard regarding voting rights." But he opened the door to possible compromise with the GOP on amending the health care law, saying, "Does this mean changes should not be made? Absolutely not...I hope we can look at bipartisan changes and modifications that would increase efficiency and effectiveness. But do not repeal this fundamental right."

Republicans, for their part, used the debate as proof of their convictions: making good on a campaign promise to repeal the law and focusing the congressional debate on fiscal discipline.

Despite some estimates that the new law will create more than 400,000 new jobs each year for the next 10 years, House Republicans argued that the health care law would actually be a "job killer," and was fiscally unsound. In particular, GOP members took issue with Congressional Budget Office estimates that repeal of the law would cost $230 billion in the next two years and $1.2 trillion over the next 20 years.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, took to the House floor armed with several oversized flow charts illustrating what he called the actual cost of the new health care law. "This law blows a hole through the deficit," said Ryan, asserting it would cost nearly $2.6 trillion in spending. Claiming that the health care law was part of a "fiscal house of cards," Ryan said that America "was on the path to bankruptcy."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) echoed Ryan's points, saying the true cost of the new law was underestimated. "The numbers don't quite jive," he said, ascribing it to "the gimmickry in the writing of the bill itself." Reiterating a Republican priority of increased fiscal discipline, Cantor enthused, "Make no mistake -- were gonna cut something!"

But Cantor was quick to say repeal would be followed by a new law that would "emphasize the doctor-patient relationship" and would not base health care reform around "what Washington dictates."

When pressed for details as to what a Republican-approved replacement bill might look like, Cantor deferred to House committees -- including Appropriations and Ways & Means -- that will be tasked with developing alternatives.

To his critics not yet convinced that a viable alternative would be found, Cantor pledged that American health care would not revert back to the "status quo." Noting the 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, Cantor pledged, "Republicans care about health care."

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328 Comments

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fpfp040408

God Bless OBAMA, he is changing things for the positive and making this nation stronger, better, and healthier

January 21 2011 at 11:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fpfp040408

God Bless President Obama, let us pray that those who are bent on destroying this nation are not successful, and their energy becomes focused on positive healing contributions.

January 21 2011 at 11:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bthered

So what??? Nothing will come of it...Now if the Republicans could come up with something better, maybe we could get interested.

January 21 2011 at 11:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
camarillofats

The wonderful, warm hearted republicans, just before they voted to take away health insurance from their constituents, they voted to retain it for themselves. Does this perhaps tell you anything?

January 20 2011 at 12:29 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
cllnearman

Once the majority of Americans know more about the beneficial elements of the health care bill, and stop listening to those who bash it without facts, it will be a major success. More people are now in favor of it than ever. Seems like the right message is getting out finally. Less republicans want it repealed now than those who actually want it left alone. True red blooded Americans call that progress.

January 20 2011 at 3:39 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
Michael

Obamacare is neither care, nor affordable, nor reform. It throws costs more heavily on those paying now while extending an entitlement expectation to millions without any increase in physicians or other providers. It puts politicians in bed with Big Pharma and Big Insurance who, with the able assistance of Big Lobbies bring tother an alliance with an interest in maximizing prices while minimizing expenses... not in the patients' interests in most cases. It deserves repeal. Let's see if the Senate and the President have the courage to do the will of the people this time. My hat's off to the new House.

January 19 2011 at 10:01 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Courtney

great post Imonkey! Veterans loans aren't even covered under the Obama home affordability act. If we don't help our Veterans who the heck will we help? Why do we give money to the banks and then they won't even give out loans to people who qualify?

January 19 2011 at 6:55 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
lmonkey1969

Look simple fact is we need healthcare reform but is this the right time ? The dollar is being devalued every day with the spending going on .If we can ever get the budget to at least reasonable amounts then we can talk heathcare.Bush said the oil in Iraq was going to pay for all the mess he started and that was a lie!Its getting pretty hard to believe anyone in power ,we pass bills without even reading them , we bail out banks against everyones will , SS is bankrupt witch I cant understand why the government just dosent bail that out , we can do the banks but not the people ,and they wonder why people are so ticked off!

January 19 2011 at 5:46 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
bdyftns

What health care plan have the Republicans come up with in place of this one? It's been busted for years. What plan?.....nothing.

January 19 2011 at 5:39 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
billybuttlooker

WHY DONT THEY THE REPUBLICANS GIVE US THE SAME INSURANCE AS THEY HAVE

January 19 2011 at 5:29 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to billybuttlooker's comment

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