House Republicans have scheduled a Jan. 12 vote to repeal the health care law. While the measure is expected to pass the House, Democrats in the Senate have pledged to stop the bill. Several Democrats also have said that they welcome further debate on the health law and that the more consumers learn about it the more they will like it. Republicans say the law is too expensive and too intrusive.
Read the transcript:
JACKIE JUDD: Good day. This is Health on the Hill. I am Jackie Judd. The new Republican majority in the House is moving quickly against the health care overhaul law, promising a vote on January 12th to repeal the measure. Joining us for the first webcast of the new year is Mary Agnes Carey, senior correspondent for Kaiser Health News. Welcome, and happy New Year!
MARY AGNES CAREY: Same to you!
JACKIE JUDD: What is the calculation among the new Republican majority to move this vote up almost as soon as possible?
MARY AGNES CAREY: I think that it’s an issue many of them campaigned on. They feel that voters sent them to Washington to repeal the health care law and they want to get right on it and make it one of their top priorities.
JACKIE JUDD: And of course it’s more a symbolic vote than anything else. The Democrats still control the Senate and the White House of course, so what might they get from this?
MARY AGNES CAREY: I think that we have to remember there is sort of the way we look at things in Washington and the way that the rest of the world looks at what happens in Washington, and I think that a House of Representatives, to pass a repeal of the health reform law, is going to resonate in the public. People will wonder what does it mean? What does it mean for me? What does it mean for implementation of the law?
Of course, as you note in the Senate, Democrats still run the show. They have made it very clear they will block any attempts to repeal. If for any reason it got through, which is highly doubtful, President Obama would certainly veto that and then both chambers would have to override, but I think that this is more of a debate in the court of public opinion where Republicans want to say we as a party in the House of Representatives oppose this law and we want to repeal it, and we are showing to voters this is what you sent us here to do, and we are doing it.
JACKIE JUDD: And there are some Democrats who feel that in the court of public opinion they might ultimately win, because it gives them an opportunity to highlight what elements of the law have already been implemented.
MARY AGNES CAREY: Right, exactly. Democrats are saying fine, bring it on. Let’s take on this debate because we want to show people what the law would do. The idea of keeping an adult child up to age 26 on your policy, for example, or getting rid of lifetime limits on health insurance or helping seniors who fall into this thing called the donut hole in the Medicare prescription drug program, giving them help with their drug costs. They say if Republicans repeal the law, they will also take away those protections that are very popular with consumers.
JACKIE JUDD: Once Congress moves past the repeal vote, there are Republicans saying more opportunity to de-fund, to delay. What do you see in the next several months?
MARY AGNES CAREY: I think that we will see this battle over and over again. They will use, “they” being Republicans, will use the appropriations process, perhaps try to say no more money to implement the health care law, or not implement a particular provision. They will continue with the legislative attacks. They will go after the individual mandate, the Medicaid expansion, perhaps the creation of the exchanges or the amount of subsidies provided.
I think that they will challenge it on many legislative fronts, pointing out what they feel their flaw is, and as we have talked about Democrats will come right back and say if you repeal this law you will take away these items and that is not good for consumers and voters will punish you for that.
JACKIE JUDD: And needless to say, as all of this is going on, the implementation will unfold as currently scheduled.
MARY AGNES CAREY: Exactly. I mean there are several things that are ongoing that have been funded. There is a continuing resolution that lasts through early March that is somewhat restrictive. There isn’t new funding in there for the health care law, but many things are on track to be implemented, and that will continue. And of course proponents of the bill feel the more the public learns about it, the more they are going to like it.
JACKIE JUDD: One last question. It has to do with something you and I spent time talking about in 2010, and that is the 1099 provision. What is it and what does Congress plan to do with it this year?
MARY AGNES CAREY: This is a requirement that would start next year that would say if you purchase more than $600 of services or goods from a vendor.
JACKIE JUDD: A small business person.
MARY AGNES CAREY: Exactly, any business person, you have to provide the IRS with something called the 1099 form. Small business is very upset about this. Democrats dislike it. Republicans dislike it. President Obama dislikes it. There was an effort to repeal it in the last Congress. I think they will revisit that, and they will be successful with it because Republicans obviously want to show where they can make changes in the law, but Democrats and the President seem open to embracing this at some point and going ahead and repealing it.
JACKIE JUDD: Okay, thank you very much. We will talk again next week.
MARY AGNES CAREY: You got it.