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House Republicans plan vote to repeal Affordable Care Act

House Republicans will vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act on January 12, one week into the 112th Congress. The bill is called “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.” “Job-killing” is mentioned four times in the two-page bill.

An accompanying resolution instructs relevant committees on how to replace the bill with twelve suggestions. Here are numbers 2-6:

(2) lower health care premiums through increased competition and choice; (3) preserve a patient’s ability to keep his or her health plan if he or she likes it; (4) provide people with pre-existing conditions access to affordable health coverage; (5) reform the medical liability system to reduce unnecessary and wasteful health care spending; (6) increase the number of insured Americans; This is all exactly what the Affordable Care Act does or will do: It provides an exchange for people without employer health insurance or who were previously uninsurable due to pre-existing conditions, allows those with employer health insurance to keep their plan, establishes modest pilot programs to deal with malpractice reform and increases the number of people with health insurance thanks to the individual mandate and more affordable coverage.

Democratic National Committee Communications Director Brad Woodhouse blasted the plan in an e-mail: “Barely a week after they take the oath of office, Republicans are going to ram through a bill over the objections of millions of Americans to deny people access to affordable health care – a bill impacting one sixth of the American economy – without a hearing, a committee markup or testimony from a single witness.”

House Republicans have changed budget procedural rules from PAYGO to CUTGO. In other words, $1 of new spending now can’t be offset by $1 in raised revenues — $1 in new spending has to be offset by a $1 cut somewhere else. This rule change means that the Affordable Care Act — which cuts the deficit by $143 billion over ten years mainly thanks to increased revenue and some Medicare Advantage cuts — doesn’t actually reduce the deficit as much under these rules.

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