House GOP Working Toward Obamacare Alternative

February 26, 2014

pic-healthHouse Republican leaders are in the process of working to craft a health care proposal which would replace the Affordable Care Act. While the House has held countless votes to repeal the health care reform law, this latest effort will take a step beyond the repeal votes with the goal of providing some kind of replacement package.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is spearheading the effort and is reported to be meeting this week with the chiefs of the various committees of jurisdiction, including: Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Chairman of the Budget Committee; John Kline (R-Minn.), Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman; Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Budget Committee Chairman; and Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. This health-care focused push was outlined at the Republican’s annual policy retreat earlier in February.

Despite broad opposition to the Affordable Care Act among the House GOP rank and file, getting agreement around a replacement package could be a challenge. This latest effort is part of leadership’s aim to not be categorized during the 2014 midterm elections as the “party of no” but rather offer what they are for by offering this kind of alternative legislation.

While far from being the first GOP-sponsored bill, this effort will be the first one endorsed by the GOP leadership. It is expected Cantor and the various chairmen will pull from various GOP health care bills already introduced from Georgia Reps. Tom Price and Paul Broun, both doctors, and Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), as well as from language introduced by Senate Republicans  Richard Burr (N.C.), Tom Coburn (Okla.) and Orrin Hatch (Utah).

Among the provisions likely to be included which have garnered widespread support from House Republicans are: allow for the purchase of health insurance across state lines—or so-called Association Health Plans, something NSBA has opposed; giving employees health insurance portability between jobs; expanding access to health savings accounts; and implementing medical malpractice reform.

Despite the aim to provide some kind of replacement for the Affordable Care Act, it is unclear whether or not lawmakers will be able to move one comprehensive bill or if they’ll be forced to offer up a number of separate bills.