Cantor Plans House Vote on Legislation To Repeal the Affordable Care Act
The vote will be the first the GOP has held to repeal all or part of the law in 2013 (Haberkorn, Politico, 5/8).
Since the enactment of the ACA three years ago, lawmakers have voted more than 30 times on measures that would have repealed or defunded part or all of the law. During that time, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the constitutionality of the ACA, while several Republican leaders acknowledged that President Obama's re-election in 2012 meant the law would stand (California Healthline, 5/6).
Cantor tweeted, "It just keeps getting worse. I am scheduling a vote for next week on the full repeal of #Obamacare" (Howell, Washington Times, 5/9).
Vote Could Be an 'Olive Branch' to Republicans
According to Roll Call's "GOPpers," Cantor's announcement could be an attempt to extend an "olive branch" to GOP lawmakers after his failed efforts to pass a bill (HR 1549) that would boost funding for the ACA's temporary high-risk insurance pool program (Dumain, "GOPpers," Roll Call, 5/8).
Last month, Cantor sent a memo to House Republicans saying one of the GOP's main health care priorities for the spring would include efforts to increase funding for the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, which was designed to help sick U.S. residents gain coverage ahead of January 2014, when the ACA's ban on denying individuals coverage because of pre-existing conditions is set to take effect. Cantor's effort reportedly spurred complaints from GOP members that he was trying to help the ACA, not defeat it (California Healthline, 5/6).
According to The Hill's "Healthwatch," the repeal vote could give some GOP lawmakers enough political cover to help Cantor and Republican leaders revive the bill (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 5/8).
On Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said House leaders were discussing the possibility of rescheduling a floor vote in coming weeks on the bill (Hooper, The Hill, 5/7).
However, Rory Cooper, a spokesperson for Cantor, said the timing of the vote was partly intended to provide the GOP's freshmen a chance to formally weigh in on the issue ("GOPpers," Roll Call, 5/8).
Obama To Host ACA Promotional Event
Meanwhile, President Obama on Friday is scheduled to host a White House event to promote the ACA, USA Today reports. The event will be tied to Mother's Day, which is on Sunday.
According to USA Today, Obama is scheduled to discuss the law's benefits for women, including requiring coverage for mammograms and cancer screenings. Obama is likely to ask mothers attending the event to encourage their uninsured children to obtain coverage through the law's health insurance exchanges in October (Jackson, USA Today, 5/8).
Administration's ACA Strategy
Although observers have questioned the Obama administration's surprisingly restrained efforts to promote the ACA, administration officials say there is a reason for holding back, the Washington Post's "Wonkblog" reports.
According to "Wonkblog," the administration's top officials and advocates have said any efforts to promote the law too early could undermine marketing plans in October when individuals will begin enrolling in the online marketplaces.
Acting CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner said, "We've done a lot of research" on outreach campaigns, adding, "Our research has shown if you go too early, you don't have anything to offer, and people lose interest. It will be intense, but the timing is important."
Anne Filipic -- executive director of Enroll America, a not-for-profit aimed at promoting the ACA -- expressed similar caution. She said, "We do have to be mindful about how we talk about the law before Oct. 1, when folks can actually go online and sign up in the exchanges."
Enroll America and the Obama administration have suggested they will ramp up their outreach campaigns around June, when they believe they can start talking about health benefits that will be available in a few months (Kliff, "Wonkblog," Washington Post, 5/8).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.