House to Vote on Health Care Repeal

January 19, 2011

The House of Representatives is revisiting the previously delayed debate and vote on repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) this week.

The House is scheduled to vote late-afternoon Jan. 19 on the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act (H.R. 2) followed by a Jan. 20 vote on H. Res 9 – a resolution instructing committees with health care jurisdiction to draft replacement legislation for the health care law.

NSBA sent Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) a letter of support on H.R. 2 and H. Res 9 earlier this week. The letter notes that while NSBA opposed PPACA because of its failure to reduce the costs of health care and lower premiums, repealing the law must be accompanied with additional legislation that places health care costs reduction and containment initiatives paramount. Clickhere to read the letter.

Although both are expected to easily pass, the House votes are largely seen as merely symbolic. As long as the Senate and White House maintain Democratic majorities, partisan legislation will remain gridlocked. Nevertheless, this week’s votes commence a long-term effort by House Republicans to alter the new law.

Meanwhile, as the House takes the first substantive votes of the 112th Congress, federal agencies and their advising entities continue to push forward with the rulemaking process. The Institute of Medicine (IOM), charged with providing consultation and advice to the Department of Health and Human Resources, met for the first time Jan. 12-14 to discuss and hear testimony in relation to the development of an “essential health benefit package.”

The essential health benefits package will be the standard by which other provisions are measured in the law, including the individual and employer mandates and tax subsidies provided through the health exchanges, and thus represents a critical component of the rulemaking process for small businesses.

The public meetings allowed economist, health policy experts, policymakers and stakeholders to provide input regarding the types and scope of medical services that should be included in the insurance plans that are offered on the exchanges created by the new health law.

The crux of the debate comes down to an impractical goal of having a generous benefits package that is cost-effective, particularly for small businesses and their employees – something PPACA proponents envisioned but actuaries are beginning to debunk. A very generous essential health benefits package will translate into more expensive health coverage for consumer, which was the impetus for health reform in the first place.

NSBA will continue to advocate for a truly basic essential health benefits package that will provide health insurance coverage at affordable prices. NSBA has previously provided updates and comments on IOM deliberations.

Click here to read more and to read NSBA’s comments.

Stay tuned to NSBA’s Health Reform Today and Tomorrow Web site for more news and information as it is made available.