GOP Prepares To Challenge Health Law On Federal, State Levels
Reuters: "Congressional Republicans said on Sunday they plan a full-scale assault against President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul next year but acknowledged it could take until after the 2012 presidential election to repeal it. Representative Paul Ryan, expected to become chairman of the House Budget Committee chairman, said his fellow Republicans will try to deny funding for implementation of the healthcare legislation and hold hearings to point out its shortcomings when the new Congress convenes in January" (Smith, 11/7).
Fox News: "Cognizant of missing a presidential signature, Republicans are still looking at court challenges and other congressional maneuvers to stop enactment of elements of the law. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who appeared with Ryan on 'Fox News Sunday,' said in his capacity as the next House oversight committee chairman he is looking at alternative ways to stop the health care law, including preventing 'administration earmarks' ... Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said if Congress fails to get a veto, 'then we're willing to look at all the varying pieces of this'" (11/7).
The Wall Street Journal quoted Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., on NBC's "Meet the Press": "We have to stop the funding of Obamacare and over the next two years show the American people what the real options are to improve the system we have now. ... And there are a lot of ways we can make insurance more available, more affordable, available to those with pre-existing conditions. ... The first step is obviously to, to defund it, and I think we can do that with Republicans controlling the House" (Paletta, 11/7).
In a front page story, The New York Times reports that Republicans "said they hoped to use the power of the purse to challenge main elements of the law ... Republican lawmakers said, for example, that they would propose limiting the money and personnel available to the Internal Revenue Service, so the agency could not aggressively enforce provisions that require people to obtain health insurance [beginning in 2014] and employers to help pay for it. Under the law, individuals and employers who flout the requirements will face tax penalties."
"Moreover, Republican leaders said, they plan to use spending bills to block federal insurance regulations to which they object. And they will try to limit access to government-subsidized private health plans that include coverage of abortion - one of the most contentious issues in Congressional debate over the legislation" (Pear, 11/6).
Related, earlier KHN story: House Takeover Will Give GOP Ways To Attack Health Law (Werber Serafini, 11/2).
Dallas Morning News: "If repeal fails, House Republicans could try to undo key provisions. One likely target is a mandate, effective in 2014, that individuals get insurance or pay a fine. By itself, such a change would irk health insurers, who at least gained the prospect of new customers from it. Furthermore, any individual tweaks to the law could change its projected cost" (Michaels, 11/7).
U.S. News & World Report details five "uncomfortable realities" lawmakers will "confront" when they reopen the debate in January (Kotz, 11/5).
National Journal: "A pair of GOP governors also said Sunday they were doing what they could to block implementation of the law at the state level. 'I think Obamacare is one of the worst pieces of legislation passed in the modern history of the country,' ... Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota said on CNN. Texas Gov. Rick Perry also said he'd continue to oppose the new health care law. 'Well, you've gone from a lot of people thinking this might be a good idea to every day people find out the cost and -- my wife's a nurse, father-in-law a physician -- they understand intuitively that what this is going to do, if it goes into place or if it goes into as it is written, we will be rationing health care,' the Texas Republican said on 'State of the Union'" (Cohn, 11/7).
The Hill: "Pawlenty said his administration has been given the chance to enroll early in the new federal healthcare program and has declined. Pawlenty called for 'market-based solutions' and said he hoped that state governments would try to limit the program or that a Republican-controlled Congress would roll it back. He said repealing healthcare reform would be his campaign platform if he ran for the White House in 2012" (Bolton, 11/7).
Related, earlier KHN story: With Newly-Elected Governors, GOP Gains Clout To Fight Health Reform Law (Appleby and Carey, 11/3).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.