KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Three Years In, GOP Leaders Have No Replacement For Health Law

Some point to the Obama administration's delay of the employer mandate as proof the measure is collapsing under its own weight. Still, even as Republicans advance votes to repeal or reverse parts of the law as part of a 'repeal and replace' strategy, they have not advanced an alternative.

The Hill: Obama Tries To Regain ObamaCare Edge After Mandate Delay Setback
The standard line from Obama and his allies was that the law had been passed by Congress, signed by the president, upheld by the Supreme Court, and then affirmed again by Obama's reelection. But the decision to delay the employer mandate cut against that narrative of inevitability, allowing Republicans to argue that the law is collapsing on its own — and creating a double standard that rewarded business at the expense of individuals and families (Baker, 7/21).

The Associated Press: After 3 years, House Republicans Still Voting To Repeal 'Obamacare,' But Have No Replacement
Three years after campaigning on a vow to "repeal and replace" President Barack Obama's health care law, House Republicans have yet to advance an alternative for the system they have voted more than three dozen times to abolish in whole or in part. Officially, the effort is "in progress" — and has been since Jan. 19, 2011, according to, a leadership-run website. But internal divisions, disagreement about political tactics and Obama's 2012 re-election add up to uncertainty over whether Republicans will vote on a plan of their own before the 2014 elections (Espo, 7/21).

Fox News: House Republicans Keep Pushing Repeal
House Republicans say their goal is to repeal President Obama's health care law, not to present an alternative plan. "I don't think it's a matter of what we put on the floor right now," said Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, who heads the party's campaign committee. He added that what is important is "trying to delay Obamacare." His remarks are in response to criticism that the Republican-led House have voted more than three dozen times over the past several years to repeal the law in part or in whole. On the larger question about the recent success of Congress, House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday it "ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal" not "by how many new laws we create." Boehner told CBS' "Face the Nation" the United States has "more laws than the administration could ever enforce" (7/21).

The Hill: Boehner: GOP Will Do 'Everything We Can' To Thwart ObamaCare
"ObamaCare is bad for America," Boehner told CBS's "Face the Nation." "We're going to do everything we can to make sure it never happens." Boehner's comments come several days after the House voted to delay the law's employer and individual mandates over a White House veto threat (Viebeck, 7/20).

Opposition continues from other corners -

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Union Fears 'Destructive Consequences' From Obamacare
The laborers union has added to organized labor’s drumbeat of dissatisfaction with the Affordable Care Act. In a letter sent to President Barack Obama on Thursday, Laborers International Union of North America President Terry O’Sullivan wrote that the law has "destructive consequences" for the types of health plans that cover millions of unionized construction workers and their family members (Maher, 7/19).

Arizona Republic: Politics Spurs Some Ariz. Dems To Join Republicans On Health Care
U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema once toured Arizona on behalf of the White House, touting the benefits of health-care reform. Last week, the freshman Democrat voted with the GOP to delay the law’s requirement that individuals and businesses buy insurance by 2014. Sinema said she still supports the law because it helps students and people with pre-existing conditions obtain coverage. … Sinema also had a political motivation for the vote. Her congressional district, which stretches from Phoenix to Mesa, is considered a toss-up seat, where enough conservative-leaning voters concerned by the health-care law could boot her out of office in the mid-term elections. That’s what happened in 2010, when voters turned out in droves to unseat Democrats in an uproar over passage of the president’s health-care law (Sanders, 7/20).

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