House Rules Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) will introduce a resolution Thursday setting in motion the GOP’s effort to supplant President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law.
The resolution, which is separate from the one-sentence repeal bill that the House is set to begin work on this week, is “basically a replacement” for the health care law, Dreier said Wednesday. It would direct the Energy and Commerce Committee, Judiciary Committee, and Ways and Means Committee to begin working on a series of new health care bills aimed at replacing key portions of Obama’s law.
The measure lists 12 broad goals for the new package of legislation, but no specific policy proposals or targets for change. The goals include creating lower health care premiums through increased competition and choice; providing access to affordable health care for people with pre-existing conditions; providing greater Medicaid flexibility for states; eliminating waste in the health care system; and banning federal funding for abortions. In keeping the language general, the resolution will allow the GOP some flexibility in how it writes its health care bills.
Dreier swiped at the Democrats’ handling of the health care overhaul, saying Republicans would oversee a more open process for a replacement bill.
“The committee structure will be in place. There will be Member participation the likes of which we did not see during the health care debate,” he said. A GOP aide said no timeline for considering legislation has been set in order to allow the committee process to be completed.
Although House Republicans have insisted on voting on a repeal of the health care law, which is scheduled for Wednesday, that effort will amount to little more than a ceremonial gesture to the tea party.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has already said he has no intention of bringing a repeal bill to the floor, essentially killing its chances of passage. And even if the Senate were to take up the measure, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) were to find some formula for passing it there, it would ultimately die under Obama’s veto pen.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.