Republicans Assail ‘Freight Train of More Mandates’ In House Health Bill
Republicans criticized the House health overhaul bill, released by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for its size, scope and cost.
ABC News reports: "Republicans, as expected, assailed the Pelosi bill, saying its 1,990 pages don't reflect any change. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, billed it as a 'government takeover of the health care system.' The Democrats' legislation has 'over 50 new mandates, bureaucracies, tax hikes, commissions -- All of this is going to require tens of thousands of new federal employees, which is fairly designed for a government takeover of our health care system,' Boehner, with a printout of the entire bill in front of him, told reporters. 'How are we going to fix out health care system with 1,990 pages of bureaucracy?'" (Khan and Karl, 10/29).
The National Review Online reports that Boehner said that "the House bill is no different than the Senate's in terms of it's expansiveness. ... Rep. Eric Cantor asks, 'Do the American people really believe that this nearly 2000 page bill won't explode the Federal deficit?' Rep. Mike Pence observes that the Pelosi legislation is 'a freight train of more mandates, more bureaucracy and more taxes.' ... House GOP whip Roy Blunt hammered Speaker Pelosi for procedural chicanery and shutting Republicans out of process crafting legislation. Blunt noted that even as they scramble to figure out what's in the 1,990 page bill it's 'highly likely' that an '800 page amendment will be offered the moment it hits the floor. ... Nobody will know what's in this bill 72 hours from now'" (Hemingway, 10/29).
The National Journal Blog reports that Republicans are seeking more transparency in Congress, especially on the health care legislation, with a bill introduced Wednesday by Rep. Dave Reichert, D-Wash., "that would require each of the 21 standing committees in the House to record votes on their Web sites within 48 hours. Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., sponsored a resolution last week calling for cameras to be installed in the House Rules Committee hearing room and freshman Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., recently sponsored a measure to require committees to post the text of adopted bills and amendments online within 24 hours."
In a press release, Reichert said, "When we're debating a trillion-dollar health overhaul, constituents deserve to know how legislation takes shape -- throughout the entire process" (Noyes, 10/29).
Insurers immediately reacted to the House bill, saying that it will cause costs to skyrocket. The New York Times reports: "Karen Ignagni, president and chief executive of America's Health Insurance Plans,... painted a dire picture of the consequences of a government-run insurance plan, or public option, which is designed to compete with private insurers. She said it would 'bankrupt hospitals, dismantle employer coverage, exacerbate cost-shifting from Medicare and Medicaid, and ultimately increase the federal deficit.'"
The Times includes a full statement from AHIP, which states: "While this legislation recognizes the key linkage of market reforms and a personal coverage requirement, more needs to be done to ensure coverage is affordable and our health care system is sustainable. As the process progresses, health plans will continue to work to advance bipartisan legislation this year that will cover all Americans, make coverage more affordable, and improve quality" (Seelye, 10/29).