Cantor’s Defeat Likely Hampers ACA Repeal, Replace Efforts
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who lost his re-election bid in a Republican primary on Tuesday, announced Wednesday that he would relinquish his leadership role on July 31, all but ensuring that his efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act have stalled, Modern Healthcare reports (Demko, Modern Healthcare, 6/11).
According to The Hill, Cantor's speech omitted any mention of health care-related plans as part of his legislative priorities for the final seven weeks of his tenure, despite expressing his intentions earlier this year to introduce an ACA replacement measure (Viebeck, The Hill, 6/11).
Meanwhile, the GOP has started to scramble to find a House Majority Leader replacement because the uncertainty could potentially cause instability at the leadership level in the committees that have jurisdiction over health care policy matters, according to Modern Healthcare.
House Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is widely expected to vie for the role, along with House Rules Committee Chair Pete Sessions (R-Texas).
ACA Stance One Likely Factor for Cantor's Loss
Some observers suggest that Cantor's defeat might be linked to his refusal to adopt a hardline stance against the ACA, citing his efforts to advance a replacement plan over a straightforward repeal measure. According to Modern Healthcare, this sort of "obstinacy" in the GOP voter base could make it difficult for Republican lawmakers to get enough votes to make even minor changes to the ACA (Modern Healthcare, 6/11).
Similarly, GOP lawmakers themselves are divided over whether to move forward with an alternative plan, given that providing specific legislation could give Democrats in the midterm elections clear reasons to attack them, Politico reports. That debate could become more complicated if GOP lawmakers decide their support for the new majority leader depends on whether he or she supports or opposes an ACA replacement bill (Haberkorn, Politico, 6/11).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.