Healthcare sound and fury will signify little in the House
Republican leaders are touting one healthcare action proposal when the House reconvenes Tuesday for a three-week session before breaking for the final election campaign push.
In an e-mail to the GOP caucus last Thursday, new Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said the House will take up legislation to ensure that Americans can remain in their current insurance plans even if the plans don’t comply with the coverage requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. “While the president has failed to live up to his ‘if you like your plan, you can keep it’ promise, House Republicans remain committed to protecting Americans from the crushing costs of Obamacare,” McCarthy wrote.
McCarthy did not mention that the Obama administration gave states and insurers the option of letting people stay in noncompliant plans and that experts believe most people who had to leave their plans have obtained other coverage, often with better benefits and lower premiums. House Republicans also are promoting a pair of healthcare bills they have already passed as part of their “jobs package.” Those bills would eliminate the 30-hour-a-week definition of full-time work under the federal healthcare law—which has some Democratic support—and exempt businesses that hire veterans from paying penalties under the employer mandate.
There’s zero chance that any of the House healthcare bills will be taken up by the Democratic-controlled Senate. They’re designed more for pre-election political positioning than policy achievement. As one veteran healthcare lobbyist put it, “Nothing’s real.”