KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

GOP Spotlights Repealing – Rather Than Replacing – The Health Law

The House is scheduled to vote today to repeal the sweeping health law, although one Republican says they will not move a replacement measure until 2013 at the earliest. Meanwhile, the vote is being cast by GOP leaders as an effort to stop a new tax.    

Los Angeles Times: Republicans Focus On Repealing, Not Replacing, 'Obamacare'
Congressional Republicans, who once promised to "repeal and replace" President Obama's healthcare law, for now have all but given up pushing alternatives to the sweeping legislation the president signed in 2010.
... And as the House prepares to take its 33rd vote to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act, senior Republicans say they will not try to move a replacement plan until 2013 at the earliest. "There might be a chance for us to do this next year," House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-San Dimas) said Tuesday (Levey, 7/11).

The Associated Press: GOP Says Health Care Repeal Also Stops A Tax
House Republicans, stung by the Supreme Court decision upholding President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, are seizing on one wrinkle to bolster their election-year case for repeal — the court's judgment that the penalty for failing to get insurance is a tax. … Two weeks after the conservative-led court's ruling, the House GOP leadership pushed for another symbolic repeal vote on Wednesday with a fresh argument (Cassata, 7/11).

Reuters: New Name, Old Campaign As Republicans Wage War On "Obamacare"
Since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, they have introduced by their own count 30 bills to get rid of or gut the law they call "Obamacare," bearing titles such as the "Reclaiming Individual Liberty Act," the "repeal the Job killing health care law" act and the "NObamacare Act of 2012." On Tuesday they began debate on the 31st, the "Repeal of the Obamacare Act," which is certain to win passage when the House votes on Wednesday and just as certain to go no further, since the Senate and White House are both in Democratic hands (Ferraro and Smith, 7/10).

The Wall Street Journal: House Set To Vote On Health-Law Repeal
The House is expected to vote Wednesday to repeal President Barack Obama's health-care law, as Republicans continue their furious response to the Supreme Court decision to uphold the law. … GOP leaders want to reaffirm their opposition to it in advance of November's elections. The arguments on the House floor Tuesday ahead of the vote weren't new, but the urgency was greater (Bendavid and Radnofsky, 7/11).

Bloomberg: Repealing, Not Replacing, Health Law Tops Republican Plan
U.S. House Republicans, united in opposition to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, used to pledge to "repeal and replace" it.  Now, as they prepare to vote as soon as today to kill the law they call Obamacare -- their 33rd effort to undo all or parts of it -- Republican leaders have dropped the word "replace" from their promise. The omission is the result of an election-year calculation: They figure they stand to gain from public distaste for the 2010 measure’s central provision, the requirement that most Americans buy health insurance, and will lose if they start providing details about what they would do instead (Tiron and Rowley, 7/11).

The Hill: House Set For Second Vote To Repeal Obama Health Care Reform Law
The Republican-led House is set on Wednesday to vote again to repeal the entire 2010 healthcare law as lawmakers respond formally to the Supreme Court's decision to uphold President Obama's signature domestic achievement. While Democrats compared the move to the film "Groundhog Day," House Republicans said the vote was in keeping with the promise they made upon taking control of the chamber in 2010. They also argued repealing the healthcare law would help the economy (Berman and Viebeck, 7/11).

National Journal: The Health Care Debate Begins. Again.
For their part, Democrats started off blasting House Republicans for dwelling on the issue. "Never in the history of Congress has anybody voted this many times on a single issue. And why? We don't have anything else to do," said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y. "We're here simply killing time... We're not making law here, we're making political points. Which is a shame because it's not that the country doesn't need our attention" (Izadi, 7/10).

Politico Pro: Why The House Gets To Rerun The Repeal Vote
The House will pass a bill today to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law — just like it did a year and a half ago. And it can just keep doing that, as many times as it wants. If House leaders want to pass the bill again in September, they can do that, too. It turns out there's really nothing to stop the House from going into reruns — not even the sarcasm the Democrats have tried to throw at the Republicans. If it seems like the House is just replaying the floor debate of January 2011, the last time it voted to repeal the health care law, that's OK — because under House rules, it can do pretty much anything it wants (Nather and Haberkorn, 7/11).

CBS/Associated Press (Video): House GOP Set For Health Care Law Repeal Vote, But Offering No Alternatives
House Republicans generally avoided talk of replacement measures on Tuesday as they mobilized for an election-season vote to repeal the health care law that stands as President Barack Obama's signature domestic accomplishment. ... "This is nothing short of economic malpractice," said Rep. Nan Hayworth of New York, citing tax increases, government mandates and other items in the law. "We can and we must do better." She did not elaborate, nor did any of the members of the leadership. ... Republican officials said the general reluctance to sketch any sort of alternative resulted from a desire to focus public attention on the health care law itself. It generally fares poorly in public polling, both nationally and in surveys of independent voters (7/11).

Fox (Video): House GOP Poised To Hold Vote On Repeal Of ObamaCare After Supreme Court Ruling
House Republican leaders are forging ahead with plans to hold a vote Wednesday on a full repeal of President Obama's health care law, after launching debate on the repeal measure Tuesday nearly two weeks after the Supreme Court upheld most of the law as constitutional. Wednesday will mark the chamber's second vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act in full, though this attempt is being given no greater chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate. Obama has vowed to veto any such measure, were it to reach his desk. House Republicans have held 29 other votes aiming to gut specific parts of the law since 2011 (Marcos, 7/11).

Also in the news, yesterday's Ways and Means Committee hearing on the individual mandate and Congress' taxing authority -

Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: Court Ruling Triggers Tax Debate On Capitol Hill
Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey talks to Jackie Judd about Tuesday's House Ways and Means Committee session on the individual mandate and congressional taxing authority. They also preview Wednesday's House vote to repeal the health law.

CQ HealthBeat: GOP Lawmakers Predict 'Brave New World' Of Federal Tax Power After Health Care Law Decision
Witnesses and lawmakers clashed at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing Tuesday over whether the Supreme Court's health care law ruling is a dangerous expansion of congressional taxing power. In an assertion backed by three of the four legal analysts who testified, Chairman Dave Camp declared that the high court's ruling upheld "the first indirect tax on inactivity in American history." More onerous taxation of inactivity lies ahead, they warned (Reichard, 7/10).

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