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Following his surprising admission in the days after the Nov. 6 election that President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul is the “law of the land,” Speaker John Boehner appears to be fleshing out the shift in his approach to the law in a Tuesday Cincinnati Enquirer op-ed.
“The tactics of our repeal efforts will have to change,” the Ohio Republican wrote, saying that House Republicans would likely conduct zealous committee investigations of the law and that state-level opposition will be key.
Opposition to Obamacare has fallen short in federal courts and at the presidential ballot box, Boehner said, meaning that congressional investigations are one of the only routes left for Republicans to register their objections.
“Over the past couple of years, I have noted there are essentially three major routes to repeal of the president’s law: the courts, the presidential election process and the congressional oversight process. With two of those three routes having come up short, the third and final one becomes more important than ever,” he wrote.
Boehner noted that the House Oversight and Government Reform and Ways and Means Committees have subpoened Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for documents relating to the law’s implementation and promotion.
Boehner also said the law should be “on the table” in negotiations over “ways to solve our nation’s massive debt challenge,” but he suggested any changes secured by those negotiations would likely modify, rather than repeal, the law. “We can’t afford to leave it intact,” he wrote.
Boehner also touted efforts by Ohio Gov. John Kasich to “not implement one of the government-run exchanges mandated under the president’s health care law.” Boehner said that decision “will preserve our state’s ability to regulate health insurance on its own.”
On Nov. 8, Boehner was asked by ABC News whether he planned any more votes on repealing the law in the House. “The election changes that,” he responded, adding that “Obamacare is the law of the land.”
Shortly after the interview was published, a spokesman for Boehner said that he still supports full repeal of the law. The House has voted more than 30 times in the 112th Congress to repeal the health care law in parts or entirely.