KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Republicans Attack Health Law, Call For Senate Repeal Vote; Obama To Defend Law In SOTU

News outlets previewed the President's State of the Union address and discussed how the health law repeal vote might fare in the Senate.

The New York Times: Obama to Press Centrist Agenda in His Address
The president, advisers said, will offer a vigorous defense of the health care law, which the House last week voted to repeal, by highlighting personal stories of how the new law has already helped ordinary Americans - by requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, for example. (Calmes and Zeleny, 1/22).

The Hill: Obama To Face Down Republicans Days After Healthcare Reform Repeal Vote
Facing a new Republican majority in the House, Obama faces a pivotal choice: He can criticize Republicans for repealing the law or extend an olive branch across the aisle. Statements from Democratic lawmakers and administration officials, as well as the president himself, suggest Obama will try to strike a middle ground. They have cast the White House as open to tweaking the law to improve it, but insistent that the nation cannot take a step into the past by getting rid of the controversial law. (Millman, 1/22).

The Associated Press: Republicans Press For Senate Vote On Health Care

Senate Republicans want to box majority Democrats into allowing a health care repeal vote even if GOP lawmakers expect to be on the losing side.

"We need to have a vote on it because we promised the people we would," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Sunday on "Face the Nation" on CBS. "We have to have a vote on repeal so that everybody is on record whether they want to repeal."

Republicans took control of the House after November's elections and last week voted, as promised, to repeal the health care law. Only three Democrats joined all Republicans in the 245-189 vote to scrap the law.

(1/23).

The Associated Press: Republicans Press For Senate Vote On Health Care 
Senate Republicans want to box majority Democrats into allowing a health care repeal vote even if GOP lawmakers expect to be on the losing side. "We need to have a vote on it because we promised the people we would," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Sunday on "Face the Nation" on CBS. "We have to have a vote on repeal so that everybody is on record whether they want to repeal" (1/23).

The Washington Post: Senate Republican Leader Vows To Push For Health Care Repeal Vote
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pledged Sunday that the Senate would vote on a repeal of the national health care overhaul following the House's passage of repeal legislation last week. "I'm not going to discuss how we're going to do it from a parliamentary point of view here, but it's very hard to deny people votes in the Senate, and I assure you we'll have a vote on repeal," McConnell said during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday" (Sonmez, 1/23).

Roll Call: McConnell Urges Obama to Take More Centrist Position
Appearing after McConnell [on 'Fox News Sunday,] Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said Republicans may be able to bring repeal up for a vote, but the GOP will have trouble getting it passed. "It's possible we'll face that vote," the Illinois Democrat said. "But having spoken with my Members in the Democratic caucus along with Sen. Reid, we feel there's still strong support for health care reform." (Trygstad, 1/23).

CBS News: Schumer: Health Care Repeal "Not Going to Work"
Sen. Charles Schumer called Republicans' plan to repeal health care reform a "rush" effort that "is not going to work" - and argued that Congress should be working together to improve existing health care reform rather than attempting to repeal it. On CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Schumer, a New York Democrat, applauded Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for "wisely" saying he would not bring the repeal bill to the floor (Madison, 1/23).

Politico: Schumer: GOP Repeal Like 'Swiss Cheese' 
"If the Republicans offer an amendment on the floor, then we will require them to vote on the individual protections in the bill that are very popular and that even some of the new Republican House members have said they support," Schumer said. ... "In the end, their repeal bill is going to be so full of holes it looks like Swiss cheese"(Catanese, 1/23).

The Wall Street Journal: Cantor: 'Every Dollar Should Be on the Table'
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor ... in an appearance Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," said that Republicans will live up to their pledge to cut $100 billion from federal spending ... When pressed on whether those cuts will tackle spending for entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, Rep. Cantor said Americans age 55 or older need to know their benefits will be there. But for those 54 and younger, "we're going to have to have a serious discussion," he said (Adamy, 1/23).

NPR: Can Congress Mandate Health Insurance?
One of the key objections for most Republican lawmakers against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law last year by President Obama, is what's called the individual mandate - a provision that will require most Americans to become insured by 2014. Many Republicans, including Rep. Dan Lungren of California, believe Congress doesn't have the constitutional authority to make people buy insurance, and they object to the idea that everyone must have it. But as constitutional law expert Andrew Koppelman tells Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz, Congress can trace its constitutional authority to mandate health care coverage to the Constitution's "necessary and proper clause" (1/22). 

 



 

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