Tag Archives: health care repeal

Health care reform: House marches toward repeal vote

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After promising a new era of openness and fiscal restraint, House Republicans veered from that standard on the first big vote of the new Congress: the repeal of health-care reform.

The powerful Rules Committee on Thursday vetted dozens of amendments, mainly from Democrats, but rejected all but one on party-line votes, eliminating the possibility of changes to legislation on the floor and leaving Democrats crying foul. [Editor's note: This paragraph has been changed from the original to account for an accepted amendment.]

GOP leaders also rejected calls to offset the cost of repeal, estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to be $230 billion over the next 10 years – more than double the spending cuts that the new GOP majority aims to pare from spending bills for fiscal year 2011. The CBO’s preliminary estimate of the cost of repeal, released Thursday, also projects that repeal would leave 32 million more Americans uninsured.

The full House on Friday accepted that rule, setting the terms for next week’s floor debate and ensuring the final vote will be a straight up or down one. The Friday vote in favor of those terms was 236 to 181, falling mainly along partisan lines.

Responding to criticism that this rule violates a key GOP pledge, Rep. David Drier (R) of California, who chairs the Rules Committee, said: “There is nothing to amend to the repeal bill. Either we’re going to wipe the slate clean and start fresh or we’re not.”

“Once that slate is completely wiped clean, we will be ready for this open and collaborative process to develop the real solutions we promised,” he added in Friday’s floor debate on the rule.

In a break with past practice, the entire meeting was televised – fulfilling a GOP pledge to make all committee proceedings more accessible to the public.

“I promised a more open process. I didn’t promise that every single bill was going to be an open bill,” said Speaker John Boehner in his first press briefing on Thursday. “We went through a whole Congress, two years without one – without one open rule. As I said yesterday, there will be many open rules in this Congress, and just watch.”

Democrats had hoped to force repeal proponents to take recorded votes on the most popular aspects of the new law, thus providing grist for campaign ads in the 2012 elections. These include ending the new ban on insurance companies discriminating on the basis of preexisting conditions, taking away the option for young adults up to the age of 26 to be covered by their parents’ health insurance, and free annual wellness visits, tax breaks to help employers pay for coverage for employees, and a ban on lifetime caps on coverage.

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Straight Forward, To-The-Point Obamacare Repeal

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The bill is up for procedural vote this Friday, and is scheduled to be considered by the Congress next Wednesday. Let’s hope that it at least gets a shot in the House during this Republican/Tea Party-led Congress.

112TH CONGRESS
1ST SESSION

H. R. __

To repeal the job-killing health care law and health care-related provisions
in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mr. CANTOR introduced
the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on
____________
A BILL
To repeal the job-killing health care law and health care related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act’’.

SEC. 2. REPEAL OF THE JOB-KILLING HEALTH CARE LAW AND HEALTH CARE-RELATED PROVISIONS IN THE HEALTH CARE AND EDUCATION RECONCILIATION ACT OF 2010.
(a) JOB-KILLING HEALTH CARE LAW.—Effective as of the enactment of Public Law 111–148, such Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted.

(b) HEALTH CARE-RELATED PROVISIONS IN THE HEALTH CARE AND EDUCATION RECONCILIATION ACT OF 2010.—Effective as of the enactment of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Public Law 111–152), title I and subtitle B of title II of such Act are repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such title or subtitle, respectively, are restored or revived as if such title and subtitle had not been enacted.

Read The Full PDF, two-page-in-entirety version here
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How Will Mid-Term Elections Effect The Attempts To Repeal Health-Care?

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Even with a broad and historic majority, House Republicans have formidable roadblocks to delivering on a top campaign promise: to repeal or dismantle comprehensive health-care reform.

An outright repeal would have to get past a Democrat-controlled Senate and, more formidably, the Democratic president, who made health-care reform his No. 1 domestic priority earlier this year. Republicans don’t have the two-thirds majority required in both Houses to override a presidential veto.

Yet outright repeal is likely to be the first floor vote – after the vote for speaker – when the new Congress convenes in January.

No legislation more symbolizes what Republicans – and especially the conservative tea party movement – have dubbed the overreach of an out-of-touch majority. It’s a key vote for an insurgent freshman class eager to demonstrate that the 2010 election is producing change Washington.

“The health-care bill that was enacted by the current Congress will kill jobs in America, ruin the best health-care system in the world, and bankrupt our country,” said Rep. John Boehner (R) of Ohio, the presumptive House speaker, at a press briefing with GOP leaders Wednesday morning. “That means that we have to do everything we can to try to repeal this bill and replace it with common-sense reforms that will bring down the cost of health insurance.”

Mr. Boehner, says former GOP majority leader Dick Armey, “will find that the House will repeal it with no less than 20 Democratic votes.” He adds, “Don’t worry about what the Senate does.”

Mr. Armey advised and backed many tea party candidates.

For his part, President Obama is standing firm on the health-care law. “I’m sure this is an issue that will come up in discussions with Republican leadership, but I think we’d be misreading the election if we thought that the American people want to see us for the next two years relitigate arguments that we had over the last two years,” he said at a press briefing Wednesday afternoon.

“If Republicans have ideas for how to improve our health-care system … I’m happy to consider some of those ideas,” he added.

Still, a strong move by Republicans on health care may be essential to sweeten what could be a bitter vote for the new GOP class: raising the national debt limit, now set at $14.9 trillion. Although conservatives campaigned aggressively against a soaring national debt, Mr. Armey predicts that tea party freshmen will back a new debt limit.

“It’s a legacy vote of the irresponsible spending that came before this time. Just in terms of avoiding breakdown, this vote has got to be made,” he adds.

House Democrats may opt to move this item in a lame-duck session, before the new lawmakers arrive.

In their “governing agenda,” House Republican leaders have already committed to repealing the “job killing” health-care law. “Because the new health care law kills jobs, raises taxes, and increases the cost of health care, we will immediately take action to repeal this law,” Republicans promised in their “Pledge to America,” which they released in September.

But they are also proposing that Congress enact elements left out of the Obama health-care law, such as medical liability reforms, the option of purchasing health-care insurance across state lines, and the expansion of health savings accounts.
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Republicans and Obamacare — Will They Repeal Or Not?

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I have told you this before and I will tell you this again. Unless you elect Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio, Ken Buck, Ron Johnson, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Sharron Angle, and Joe Miller, we will never see Obamacare repealed.

Senator Judd Gregg is up today saying that repeal is not recommended.

Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said that repealing the new healthcare reform law — or looking to defund it — were not good options.

“I don’t think starving or repealing is probably the best approach here,” Gregg said on the Fox Business Network. “You basically go in and restructure it.”

Here’s the thing — Senate leadership staff will say this is just Judd Gregg, who is retiring, and not reflective of the Senate GOP leadership. There is a problem though.

In the past several weeks, there have been several closed door, off the record meetings of high dollar donors getting briefings from various elected officials, including several Senators. In each case the donors have been “reassured” by the Senators present that they have no intention of repealing Obamacare, just restructuring it.

The Senators seemed to think the high dollar donors were not kooks like those tea party activists and would understand the practical need to just “restructure” instead of “repeal.” Unfortunately, the Senators have badly misread the donors.

In any event, you can be sure that Judd Gregg is not speaking out of turn and is not a lone wolf on this issue. His view reflects that of the Senate GOP leadership despite their protestations to the contrary.

Again, if you haven’t sent money to Joe Miller, Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, Pat Toomey, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, and Marco Rubio, you better. Repeal of Obamacare depends on them.

UPDATED: It is worth noting that neither Mitch McConnell nor Lamar Alexander have signed on as co-sponsors to Jim DeMint’s legislation that would repeal Obamacare.

States’ Healthcare Suit Will Move Forward

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U.S. states can proceed with a lawsuit seeking to overturn President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare reform law, a Florida judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson had said at a hearing last month that he would block efforts by the Justice Department to dismiss the lawsuit, led by Florida and 19 other states.

“In this order, I have not attempted to determine whether the line between constitutional and extraconstitutional government has been crossed,” Vinson, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, wrote in his ruling.

“I am only saying that … the plaintiffs have at least stated a plausible claim that the line has been crossed,” Vinson said.

Opponents of Obama’s overhaul of the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare system have said it violates the Constitution by imposing what they consider unlawful taxes and requiring citizens to obtain healthcare coverage, among other issues.

The suit was originally filed in March by mostly Republican state attorneys general.

The ruling allowing the case to proceed was a setback for Obama, who has made healthcare reform a cornerstone of his agenda and who is struggling to fight off a strong Republican challenge in November 2 mid-term Congressional elections.

Vinson dismissed four of six claims the states brought against the healthcare law but said he saw grounds to proceed on two counts, including one relating to the way critics say it would force huge new spending by state governments.

On the issue of the so-called “individual mandate,” the law’s provision that all Americans obtain healthcare insurance, Vinson said the plaintiffs had “most definitely stated a plausible claim” for their objections.

“The power that the individual mandate seeks to harness is simply without prior precedent,” he said.

The White House said the government expects to prevail.

“We saw this with the Social Security Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act — constitutional challenges were brought to all three of these monumental pieces of legislation, and all of those challenges failed,” presidential adviser Stephanie Cutter wrote in a blog post.

“VICTORY FOR STATES”

Vinson said the case would continue as scheduled. He had previously set a hearing for December 16.

“This ruling is a victory for the states, small businesses and the American people,” Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said.

“This decision is a recognition that Congress has never gone this far and that the constitutional arguments have real merit,” Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch said.

The challenge being heard by Vinson is one of many against the healthcare law. There is a hearing in Virginia Monday on the merits of a separate suit against the healthcare overhaul.

On October 7, a Michigan District Court judge upheld the portion of the healthcare law requiring Americans to obtain coverage. The Michigan judge, in a ruling noted by Vinson, said Congress had the authority to enact the law under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution and therefore could also impose a penalty for those who failed to obtain health insurance.

Apart from Florida, states joining in the lawsuit include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Washington.

Legal analysts say there is a good possibility the matter will reach the U.S. Supreme Court, but most say there is only a slim chance the states would prevail.

(Additional reporting by Maggie Fox, Patricia Zengerle and Susan Heavey in Washington; Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Xavier Briand)
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Top Five Surprises in Obamacare

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Top 5 Surprises in Obamacare

The more the American people have learned about Obamacare since it was passed the more they dislike it. And with good reason. Here is a list of some recent surprises buried in the 2,300 pages of legislation.

1. Beginning in January 2012, businesses are required to file with the IRS for every business to business transaction over $600. This includes all transactions, not just health based ones. (Section 9006).

2. A new program (the Community Living Assistance Program) was established that is woefully underfunded by the bill and will eventually require much more money than allocated. (Section 8002).

3. As of January 2014, states must expand Medicaid coverage to all individuals under the age of 64 with family incomes at or below 133% of the federal poverty level. States already do not have the resources to provide adequate Medicaid coverage and this law will add millions more to Medicaid rolls. (Section 2001, as modified by 10201 and H.R. 4872; Sec. 1004 and 1201).

4. Beginning January 2011, individuals are not allowed to use Flexible Savings Accounts, Health Reimbursement Accounts, and Health Savings Accounts to purchase over-the-counter medicines. The law also caps annual contributions at $2,500, down from $5,000. Many Americans (especially younger ones in relatively good health) rely on FSAs, HRAs, and HSAs to help pay for healthcare. This law makes these consumer-oriented tools that encourage smart shopping less convenient and provides a perverse incentive for individuals to buy expensive prescription medicine instead of over-the-counter alternatives. (Section 9003).

5. Verizon, AT&T, Caterpillar and other companies publicly acknowledged that the tax structure of the new law actually encourages companies to stop providing coverage for their employees beginning in 2014. (Section 1003).
Furthermore, despite promises from President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats that the bill would not add a dime to the deficit, the most recent CBO study confirms that the projected deficit has increased by $71 billion due to newly enacted legislation (namely healthcare reform). Read more here.

H.R. 4972: A beautifully crafted 40-word solution
But as expected, House Democrats have tied up the legislation in committee to avoid voting on it before the fall elections.

Excerpts taken from Newt Gingrich’s August 25, 2010 E-mail Newsletter