WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) — The Republican-led U.S. House will vote the week of July 9
to repeal President Obama’s landmark 2010 health-care overhaul following the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the core of the law, Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Thursday.
The announcement from Cantor, R-Va., marks the first concrete step in a fresh push congressional Republicans have pledged to repeal and replace the law.
“The president’s health care law is hurting our economy by driving up health costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “Today’s ruling underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety.”
The justices, voting 5-4, said Congress has the authority to require Americans to carry insurance or pay a penalty. That requirement is at the core of the law, which also requires insurers to cover people with pre-existing health conditions. The court limited the law’s extension of the Medicaid program for the poor by saying the federal government can’t threaten to withhold money from states that don’t fully comply.
House Republicans, who passed a bill, 245-189, to repeal the health care law in January 2011, were meeting Thursday in the Capitol to map out their next steps. Whatever efforts House Republicans make almost certainly will die in the Senate, where Democrats have control, and Obama would have the ability to veto such a bill if it passed both chambers.
Still Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he would press efforts to do away with the law, which he said the court’s ruling showed was “a tax.”
“Today’s decision does nothing to diminish the fact that Obamacare’s mandates, tax hikes, and Medicare cuts should be repealed and replaced with common sense reforms that lower costs and that the American people actually want,” McConnell said.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires people to obtain health insurance or face financial penalties and among other things, provides subsidies to help people purchase health insurance on state-level exchanges and expands coverage of pre-existing conditions.
Joseph Antos, a health policy expert and critic of the law at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington group that advocates for limited government and free markets, said Thursday that House Republicans’ only legislative recourse is to make good on their promise to hold a vote repealing the law.
“That might make it out of the House, but it won’t make it out of the Senate,” Antos said. “It’s dead for this year. If there’s any recourse, it’s getting their candidate elected president.”
Democrats, who provided all of votes to pass the health overhaul in 2010 and lost control of the House in midterm elections later that year, called the ruling a vindication of the law and a victory for the health of the American people.
“With this ruling, Americans will benefit from critical patient protections, lower costs for the middle class, more coverage for families, and greater accountability for the insurance industry,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who was House speaker when the law passed, said.
A plurality of Americans, 43 percent, said they wanted to retain the 2010 law with only small modifications, while 15 percent said the measure should be left alone, according to a Bloomberg National Poll, conducted June 14-18. One-third said the law should be repealed.
Nearly three-fourths of respondents, 71 percent, said politics would influence the Supreme Court’s decision, with 20 percent saying the court will decide solely on legal merits. Five justices are Republican appointees, and four were appointed by Democrats.
— With assistance from Roxana Tiron, Greg Stohr and Heidi Przybyla in Washington.