Republicans Increase Challenges To Health Law, Repeal Rhetoric
Tribune Washington Bureau/Los Angeles Times: "With their eyes on the 2012 election, Republicans are preparing to maximize conflict with Democrats over healthcare in the new Congress and minimize potential compromises, according to GOP strategists, lawmakers and lobbyists. That strategy is setting the stage for a bitter stalemate on Capitol Hill over the next two years ... Republican leaders and strategists think a renewed battle over healthcare will help the party expand its electoral gains and drive President Obama from the White House. ... GOP leaders have indicated they intend to do more when they control the flow of legislation in the House next year, with likely votes to defund the law and excise controversial parts such as cuts in Medicare spending and a new mandate requiring Americans to get health insurance" (Levey, 11/15).
Las Vegas Sun: This week Republicans are filing amicus briefs in a lawsuit challenging the health law on constitutional grounds. "The suit, which Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum filed almost immediately after Obama signed the health care overhaul into law, questions the legality of the participatory mandate. He and 19 other attorneys general including Nevada's say if the government can tax people for not having health insurance, it could force them to buy anything. Regardless of how this legal process goes however, the GOP is expected to take the opportunity presented by Republicans controlling the House to try to repeal the health care law" (Demirjian, 11/13).
CQ: In addition to Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, "House Minority Leader John A. Boehner filed a brief in federal court in Florida on Friday supporting the multistate lawsuit...." Friday was the deadline for filing the briefs. "'I'm proud to stand with these states and the NFIB on behalf of America's workers in the revolt against this job-killing health care law,' Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement" (11/12).
Kaiser Health News: Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn., is also supporting the challenge to the law. "Reporters speculated that it may be the opening salvo in a [2012 presidential bid]. He told CNN recently that health law opposition would be part of the stump if he runs. Pawlenty's filing sure reads like politics: The health overhaul, lawyers for Pawlenty, wrote, 'is so mammoth, its provisions are so complex, and its passage was so irregular that the federal attorneys who have spent the past eight months defending it cannot even clearly identify its length.'" Pawlenty has also barred state employees and agencies from applying for health law grants without his permission (Weaver, 11/13).
The Hill: "Thirty-five of the nation's leading economists said Friday they are opposing the 20-state legal challenge to the healthcare reform law. The distinguished list includes three Nobel laureates and several high-ranking officials in former administrations. In a friend-of-the-court brief, the economists promise to 'provide this Court insight into the key economic factors, including the significant distortions in the markets for medical care and health insurance, that led to the long-running health care crisis in this country'" (Pecquet, 11/12).
In a separate story, The Hill reports that others are also weighing in on the cons of the health law, including "conservative National Center for Policy Analysis [which called] for repealing several provisions of the healthcare reform law as part of a new brief on measures that Congress can take to spur the economy. Eliminating the requirement that people buy insurance would help because the provision will increase labor costs, the group says" (Pecquet, 11/12).
Politico: Several states that support the health law want to weigh in, too. Oregon, Iowa and Vermont argue that a ruling that the health law is unconstitutional 'would have a tremendous and deleterious effect' on the states. 'The plaintiff states also paint an exaggerated and unrealistic picture of the impact of the Act on the relationship between the states and the federal government,' they wrote. In addition, the governors of Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Washington 'concluded the problems of health care costs needed to be addressed by Congress and participated in the national political process to shape the federal law to meet states' needs'" (Haberkorn, 11/12).