Republicans Plan To Block Health Law By Withholding Implementation Funds
Republicans may not have the numbers to repeal the health overhaul, even after the election, but they are increasingly likely to try to "deny the Obama administration the money it needs to implement the law," Politico reports. "Republicans have proposed a bill to deny funding to any part of the law. But a more likely scenario is to choke off funding for pieces of the legislation that they find particularly troublesome, such as the requirement to buy insurance, changes to Medicare and the one most cited by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio): the 'army of new IRS agents' to implement new requirements for business." About 120 candidates for the House and Senate have signed on to a letter pledging to defund the overhaul.
"But this strategy could prove troublesome if Americans are denied some of the popular provisions of the law that they've already experienced, such as insurance pools for people with pre-existing conditions or one of a series of insurance industry reforms due to go into effect this fall" (Haberkorn, 8/2).
CQ: Republicans are using a computer-generated graphic to illustrate how complicated the new health reform law is and why it won't work. "Kevin Brady, the top House Republican on the Joint Economic Committee, says he was inspired to commission the graphic by a similar chart that fellow Texan Dick Armey, at the time the Republican Conference chairman, produced in 1993 to lampoon President Bill Clinton's health care plan." The graphic shows in minute detail the aspects of the law that affect others (8/2).
The Washington Post: In the meantime, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., viewed by some as a potential rising star in the GOP, is running on a platform to rid the country of the national debt "even if it means openly broaching overhauls of Medicare and Social Security." His provocative ideas include "putting Medicare and Medicaid recipients in private insurance plans that could cost the government less but potentially offer fewer benefits; gradually raising the retirement age to 70; and reducing future Social Security benefits for wealthy retirees." The moves have created a difficult situation for GOP leaders, who are worried that such ideas don't have the political feasibility to win him or the Republican Party favor (Bacon, 8/2).
The Washington Post, in a separate story: "The year is off to a good start for K Street, with eight of the 10 most successful lobbying shops bringing in more revenue during the first half of 2010 than during the same period last year." The increase was generated in part by the health reform legislation work. "Capitol Hill heavyweight Patton Boggs again topped the charts, bringing in $20.6 million during the first two quarters of the year, according to Capital Business estimates based on Lobbying Disclosure Act forms filed with the Senate. Relationships with companies in the industries that were the focus of Congress - health care, financial services, energy - were also the key to nabbing a spot in the top 10" (Becker, 8/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.