KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

House Begins Debate On Health Law Repeal; Vote Expected Wednesday

The House began consideration of politically charged repeal bill Tuesday afternoon. The vote Wednesday will mark the first step for Republicans in their effort to use a variety of legislative tools to undo the new federal health law. Meanwhile, almost immediately after the vote, House committees will begin considering targeted parts of health law and proposing new remedies for the health care problems. But some news outlets check the facts regarding a key part of the GOP argument against the measure - that it is a job killer.

USA Today: House Debates Repeal Of Health Care Law
The House has opened debate today on one of the Republican Party's central 2010 campaign planks: a measure to repeal the sweeping health care law pushed by President Obama. A final vote is expected Wednesday. ... "This health care law, if left in place, will accelerate this country toward bankruptcy," said Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the House Budget Committee. "This law is a fiscal house of cards. ...It doesn't make our health care better. It makes it worse." ... Earlier today, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs played down the House efforts, saying it "isn't a serious legislative effort" (Camia, 1/18).

Politico: Eric Cantor Dares Harry Reid To Hold Repeal Vote
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) isn't one to hold his feelings back - especially when it comes to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).On Tuesday, he threw a little more flame on the fire, suggesting Reid was afraid to actually bring up the health care repeal vote in the Senate. ... Reid's office rejected the idea. (Haberkorn and Sherman, 1/18).

The Hill:  Hoyer: Dems Willing To Work With GOP To 'Improve Healthcare'
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that Democrats are willing to work along side Republicans to make some "improvements" to the healthcare law. "We are open to better solutions," Hoyer told reporters Tuesday morning, one day before a scheduled House vote repealing the law. Democrats are expected to broadly vote against repeal. Hoyer indicated some support for the broad goals of H.Res. 9, which instructs House committees to consider changes to the law and is the "replace" element in the Republicans' "repeal and replace" strategy (Ryan, 1/18).

Los Angeles Times: GOP Set To Assail Healthcare Law And Seek Alternatives
Preparing to re-engage with President Obama, House Republicans have set themselves a more ambitious goal than simply wiping out the sweeping health care overhaul signed into law last March. ... GOP lawmakers also will begin crafting an alternative with the goal of reducing insurance premiums, expanding coverage, preserving Medicare and holding down taxes (Levey and Oliphant, 1/18).

The Wall Street Journal: House Launches Health Law Challenges
Republicans in the House will press efforts to overturn the health care overhaul this week in a vote that is largely symbolic but could kick-start substantive changes to provisions at the law's core (Adamy, 1/18).

Politico, in a separate story: Repeal Vote Just The First Step For Republicans On Health Care
The highly anticipated vote Wednesday to repeal the health care reform bill will make headlines and count as a promise kept by House Republicans. But in the end, it's really just for show. The real work begins immediately afterward, with Republicans using every legislative and political tool at their disposal to wage a two-year campaign against the overhaul. And there won't be anything subtle about this slow-drip strategy as Republicans aim to erode public confidence in the law and, they hope, make it so politically unpalatable that even some Democrats turn against it (Budoff Brown, 1/17).

Fox News: House Set To Launch Health Law Challenge
House Republicans, toning down their rhetoric slightly, plan to reset the debate over the health law repeal Tuesday on Capitol Hill, building a strictly economic case against "Obamacare" after pausing for a week out of respect for the victims of the Tucson shooting (1/18).

ABC News: Health Care Repeal Tops Agenda Of New Congress
GOP leaders say they will continue to frame the health care debate and the bill as one about a law that they believe costs U.S. jobs (Khan, 1/18).

Kaiser Health News: Text: Health Law Repeal Bill And House 'Resolution' On Replacing The New Law
This document contains the text of the bill to repeal the health law and a Republican resolution "instructing certain committees to report legislation replacing" the law (1/17).

CQ HealthBeat: Republicans To Target Medical Liability Legislation
The day after the House will be voting on legislation to repeal the health care law, Judiciary Committee Republicans will look beyond that to more targeted efforts to change health care policy by holding their first hearing of the year on medical liability laws (Adams, 1/14).

McClatchy: Is Health Care Law Really A 'Job Killer'? Experts Doubt It
Republicans have titled their effort to overturn the law the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act," and that's their favorite talking point against it. The House of Representatives will start debate on repeal Tuesday and probably vote Wednesday. Saying that the law is a job killer doesn't necessarily make it one, however, and independent experts say that such a conclusion is at least premature, if not unfounded (Lightman, 1/17).

The Associated Press: Shaky Health Care Job Loss Estimate
Republicans pushing to repeal President Barack Obama's health care overhaul warn that 650,000 jobs will be lost if the law is allowed to stand. But the widely cited estimate by House GOP leaders is shaky. It's the latest creative use of statistics in the health care debate, which has seen plenty of examples from both sides (Alonso-Zaldivar, 1/18).

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