KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Law Debate Returns To Center Stage In House

With lawmakers returning to Washington this week after the July 4 break, Republican leaders in the House have scheduled a vote -- the 31st such attempt -- to repeal the health law. The effort is not expected to get any traction in the Democrat-led Senate.

The Associated Press: Analysis: Compromise In Congress Very Unlikely
Republicans and Democrats in Congress who congratulated themselves for passing relatively routine legislation before July 4 are returning to the Capitol for a summer stocked with political show votes and no serious role for bipartisanship. … the House Republican leadership intends to force a vote this coming week on a repeal of President Barack Obama's health care law, recently upheld by the Supreme Court in a ruling that said the law imposes a tax on anyone who fails to purchase insurance (Espo, 7/9).

NPR: GOP To Make 31st Attempt To Repeal Obamacare Act
The House Rules Committee takes up a bill Monday called the "Repeal of Obamacare Act." And just like it says, the bill would wipe away the president's Affordable Care Act. A vote of the full House is planned for Wednesday (Keith, 7/9).

The Hill: GOP Seeks To Rebound As Democrats Hit Reset On Health Care Reform Debate
The Supreme Court ruling on healthcare reform has upended the parties' messaging war, and led to a series of adjustments on both sides of the aisle. Republicans, still reeling from the conservative-leaning court's decision to uphold President Obama's signature law, are looking to regain their political legs. Democrats, who were pummeled by the GOP over the last couple of years on healthcare, are going on offense. House GOP leadership officials have scheduled a floor vote on repealing the law next week in what will represent the opening of a new chapter in the intense message battle. Throughout the 2009 and 2010 debate on the bill, Democrats were divided on what direction to pursue on healthcare. Republicans, meanwhile, were united in their opposition (Viebeck, 7/7).

Roll Call: Fight Over Health Law Resumes
President Barack Obama's health care reform law will be center stage again this week, as Republicans look to put coordinated bicameral pressure on Senate Democrats to take up a full repeal of the controversial law. House Republicans pledged for months to offer a full repeal if the law was upheld by the Supreme Court, and on Wednesday they will do just that when they vote on a measure sponsored by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). … Unlike in the House, where Republicans can schedule repeal votes at will, Senate Republicans will have to use procedural maneuvering or amendments to work the issue onto the Senate's agenda, which is dictated by Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Nevada Democrat has scheduled a test vote for Tuesday on a package of tax breaks designed to promote hiring and new equipment purchases by small businesses. Senior Democratic aides indicated Friday that Republicans are not expected to block the measure from coming up, but they are concerned that GOP Senators will try to use the bill as a vehicle for their own agenda (Newhauser and Lesniewski, 7/9).

Los Angeles Times: Obama Says 'More To Do' On Jobs As GOP Vows Healthcare Repeal
President Obama touted the newly-signed highway bill as a potential economic booster, while a Republican congresswoman called for the repeal of the healthcare reform law in dueling addresses on the economy Saturday (Memoli, 7/7).

Politico: Dems Face Month Of Perilous Votes
The carefully planned effort, detailed by Republicans inside and outside the Capitol, has buy-in from Mitt Romney's campaign, aides say. Outside political groups, which by law cannot coordinate with lawmakers, intend to pounce on the upcoming votes with advertising, robocalls and mailings. House Republicans will kick off the effort this week with another quixotic attempt to repeal Obama's health care law. Next week, they will turn to defense, passing the Defense Department's funding bill while trying to put the Obama administration on record as having no plan to avoid deep cuts to the Pentagon next year. After that, Republicans intend to take up a slew of regulatory relief bills. And before the House breaks in August for its monthlong recess, GOP leaders plan to hold a vote on tax rates and principles for future tax reform. Republicans have spent much of 2012 on these very themes (Sherman and Min Kim, 7/8).

Meanwhile, other longer-term strategies to undo the health law are percolating -

Politico: Health Care Reform: 5 Ways To Kill 'Obamacare' Without Repealing
Even conservatives admit Mitt Romney's promise to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law with an executive order might not work — but that doesn't mean he's out of luck. Romney could still begin to gut the law immediately by taking some more passive-aggressive steps — a jumbo-sized version of a strategy Obama has embraced on issues ranging from immigration to education (Feder, 7/7).

Houston Chronicle: Senate Republicans Eye Budget Tactic To De-fund Health Care Law
With some powerful Texans in the vanguard, Republican lawmakers return Monday to a deeply divided Capitol Hill and tenacious election-year tactics to get rid of President Barack Obama's health care plan….In the Democratic-led Senate, where leaders dismiss the upcoming House action as "just a show vote," Texas Sen. John Cornyn and other Senate GOP leaders are looking for added Republican senators in the fall elections and an arcane legislative tool known as budget reconciliation to help target Obama's health care blueprint early next year (Powell, 7/9).

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