California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

House Vote on Bill That Would Repeal the ACA Expected This Week

On Thursday, the House is expected to vote on new legislation that would fully repeal the Affordable Care Act, the New York Times reports. Some estimates peg the vote as the 37th time that congressional Republicans will try to repeal, defund or dismantle the law.

According to the Times, the House GOP has dedicated 15% of its time on the floor on votes to limit or eliminate the ACA. It also marks the 43rd day -- out of the 281 days since Republicans claimed the majority in the House in January 2011 -- that the GOP has allocated time to voting on repealing the ACA (Peters, New York Times, 5/14).

Since then, the U.S. Supreme Court has reaffirmed the constitutionality of the ACA and several Republican leaders have acknowledged that President Obama's re-election in 2012 meant the law would stand.

Last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced that he would schedule a repeal vote this week. His spokesperson said the timing of the vote was partly intended to provide the GOP's freshmen a chance to formally weigh in on the issue.

In recent days, House Republicans have defended Cantor's decision to hold the repeal vote. Michael Steel -- spokesperson for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) -- said the House has spent an appropriate amount of time in trying to repeal all or part of the ACA, noting that the ACA "amounts to a takeover of roughly 15% of the American economy."

According to the Times, Congress also is considering 15 other Republican measures that would fully or partially repeal the ACA (New York Times, 5/14).

Efforts To Fully Repeal Law Might Stymie Partial Repeals

Several conservative groups and lawmakers are pressing for legislation aimed at dismantling the ACA's implementation, which might derail the GOP's broader efforts to pass any measure that fully repeals the law, Roll Call reports.

For example, Dan Holler -- communications director for Heritage Action for America -- said his organization is "weary of anything that takes the focus away from halting the implementation" of the ACA. Meanwhile, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has argued that the law's costs could "explode" next year if lawmakers fail to block the implementation of some of its key provisions.

According to Roll Call, this "ethos leaves the future unclear" for Republicans' efforts to repeal less vital provisions of the law. The House's decision to withdraw HR 1549 and instead vote on a full repeal is an example of this wide-ranging sentiment, according to Roll Call (Ethridge, Roll Call, 5/14). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.