GOP Vows to Repeal the Affordable Care Act

Newly empowered GOP sets its sights on rolling back healthcare reformNow that the GOP has retaken control of the House of Representatives, one of their overarching goals – according to Speaker-of-the-House-to-be John Boehner (R-OH) – is to repeal the landmark Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act that would provide healthcare coverage for millions of Americans who now have no insurance.

In Boehner’s own words, “The American people are concerned about the government takeover of healthcare,” he said.  “I think it is important for us to lay the groundwork before we begin to repeal this monstrosity and replace it with common-sense reforms that will bring down the cost of healthcare insurance in America.”  “Republicans will roll back whatever they can on healthcare,” noted Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former Congressional Budget Office director.

Yet, there’s no hard evidence that the Republicans want to replace the current law with their own version of healthcare reform.  The GOP vision would give states the power to fund programs that extend coverage to some uninsured Americans.  People would also be allowed to carry insurance policies across state lines.  Mandates and government-run insurance pool would be non-existent.  Additionally, Republican legislation would cap court malpractice awards and help people direct more pretax money into healthcare savings accounts.  The Republican plan is anticipated to cut deficits by $68 billion over a decade.  On the downside, it would cover only about three million of the uninsured, leaving 52 million Americans with no healthcare coverage, according to Douglas Elmendorf, who is currently the Congressional Budget Office director.

There’s a significant roadblock in the way of the Republicans’ healthcare plan:  the presidential veto, which can be overturned only by a 2/3 vote in both houses of Congress.  “It would be a symbolic vote – a vote of intention rather than reality,” said Joseph Antos of the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute.

Complicating the situation is the fact that some aspects of healthcare reform already in effect are quite popular, such as the provisions forcing insurers to cover children with pre-existing conditions and allowing parents to keep kids up to age 26 on their policies.

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