Repeal, Replace and Revise Are The New Health Overhaul Buzzwords As Congressional Power Changes Hands
McConnell And 32 Republicans File Brief On Repealing Health Reform
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and 32 other GOP senators officially filed a brief on Thursday in favor of a court case challenging healthcare reform. McConnell filed a 16-page brief in a federal case based in Florida arguing that a key part of the new healthcare law, the requirement that all individuals have health insurance, was unconstitutional. "Where, as in this case with respect to the [health bill]'s individual mandate, Congress legislates without authority, it damages its institutional legitimacy and precipitates divisive federalism conflicts like the instant litigation," McConnell wrote in the filing. "The long term harms that the PPACA may do to our governmental institutions and constitutional architecture are at least as important as are the specific consequences of the PPACA" (O'Brien, The Hill, 11/18).
President Barack Obamas health-care overhaul is an unconstitutional exercise of congressional power, Republican senators said in a brief supporting Florida's lawsuit challenging the law. Requiring people to purchase health care oversteps the bounds of the U.S. Constitution, 32 senators said today in the filing in federal court in Pensacola, Florida (McQuillen, Bloomberg, 11/18).
Boehner: GOP Will Move 'Quickly Enough' To Repeal Healthcare Law
Speaker-designate Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Republicans will move to repeal the new healthcare law "quickly enough" after they regain House control in January. ... We think that Obamacare ruined the best healthcare in the country, we believe it will bankrupt our nation, we believe it needs to be repealed and replaced with commonsense reforms to bring down the cost of health insurance and you'll see us move quickly enough, Boehner told a roomful of reporters, photographers and videographers attending his first press conference as the GOP's officially favored choice for Speaker (Hooper, The Hill, 11/18).
With repealing the health care overhaul law a priority for Republicans, some House Democrats want GOP congressional leaders to identify which of their members are willing to opt out of their congressional health insurance benefits, which are subsidized by taxpayers. Democratic Reps. Joseph Crowley of New York, Linda Sanchez of California, Donna Edwards of Maryland, and Tim Ryan of Ohio sent a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and presumptive Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, asking them to announce which members will turn down coverage. ... According to the Democrats' letter, the federal government will spend more than $10,000 on the premiums for each member of Congress with a family plan. A central tenet of the health care law is a subsidy program so the uninsured can purchase insurance (Fung, National Journal, 11/18).
Senators Push Bipartisan State Healthcare Waiver
A Democrat and a Republican teamed up in the Senate on Thursday to offer legislation that would give states the flexibility to implement their own healthcare approaches when the federal overhaul goes into full effect in 2014. The proposal by Democrat Ron Wyden and Republican Scott Brown moves up the date when states can apply for waivers from the federal law in order to implement their own approaches (Whitesides, 11/18).
Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) have introduced legislation that would give states more flexibility to implement their own health plans when most of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act goes into effect in 2014. Currently, a provision in the law says states can apply for waivers from some of the federal law's requirements including the individual mandate, the employer penalty for not providing coverage, the exact standards for a basic health insurance policy and the structure of the health insurance exchange but must wait until 2017 to do so (Zigmond, Modern Healthcare, 11/18).
Republicans Rise To Power, With Enmity For Health Law
Until Election Day, when Wisconsin turned from navy blue to crimson red, this state aspired to lead the nation in carrying out the federal health care law and using its incentives to regulate and reshape the medical delivery system. The current governor, Jim Doyle, a two-term Democrat, praised the law as a great benefit to Wisconsin (Sack, The New York Times, 11/18).