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