Tak­ing aim at ACA

GOP vows to rev up of­fense as Obama hints at eas­ing de­fense of re­form

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK IN HEALTHCARE - Jes­sica Zig­mond

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama sig­naled in his State of the Union ad­dress that he may spend lit­tle time this year de­fend­ing health­care re­form, even as Repub­li­cans vy­ing for his job and in the House are mak­ing plans to un­der­mine the law.

Obama’s lack of at­ten­tion to the is­sue also comes in the year when the U.S. Supreme Court will de­ter­mine the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act, which many of the pres­i­dent’s sup­port­ers view as one of his great­est achieve­ments as pres­i­dent.

A year ago, House Repub­li­cans vowed to “repeal and re­place” the law soon af­ter they took con­trol of the lower cham­ber. On Wed­nes­day, the chair­man of a House health sub­com­mit­tee said a re­place­ment pack­age will come later this year af­ter the U.S. Supreme Court reaches its decision on the 2010 law.

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA.), chair­man of the House En­ergy and Com­merce Health Sub­com­mit­tee, last week laid out an agenda for 2012 that looks very much like 2011, when his panel held 25 hear­ings and ap­proved 14 health­care-re­lated bills, of which seven passed in the House. Specif­i­cally, Pitts said the sub­com­mit­tee will fo­cus on leg­is­la­tion re­lated to the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion; over­sight and repeal of the Af­ford­able Care Act; and the sus­tain­able growth-rate for­mula for physi­cians who par­tic­i­pate in the Medi­care pro­gram.

The House voted last year to repeal the en­tire Af­ford­able Care Act, but the mea­sure was re­buffed by the Demo­crat-con­trolled Se­nate.

Con­tin­ued ef­forts to repeal pro­vi­sions in the health re­form law are un­der way as the House will vote this week to repeal the Com­mu­nity Liv­ing As­sis­tance Ser­vices and Sup­ports Act, and Pitts said there could be a vote to repeal the In­de­pen­dent Pay­ment Ad­vi­sory Board as early as this spring.

“Then we will be ready to respond to the Supreme Court decision, which is ex­pected in June, with a re­place­ment pack­age,” Pitts told re­porters. “We’ve al­ready had our

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