If Republicans regain control of the House, the one issue likely to be most transformed
is the health care overhaul.
While new Republican leaders of key health committees wouldn’t become official until January, one thing is crystal clear
: Whoever takes the seat in the event of a shift in power in November will make implementing the law as difficult as possible
for the Obama administration. A key committee in question is the House Appropriations Subcommittee
on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, which will hold sway on funding for the new law. The panel will have the authority to limit or expand funding to the Departments of Health and Human Services and Labor, which are overseeing parts of the law’s implementation.
[Hal Rogers] would replace Rep. Dave Obey
(D-Wis.), who is retiring this year, and the two men represent diametrically opposed positions on the reform law. Obey held the chairmanships of both the health subcommittee and the full Appropriations Committee, which gave him huge influence over the reform legislation and made him an instrumental player in its passage. In contrast, [the Republican member] wanted to kill the law. He both offered and supported Republican amendments to repeal the whole law or deny funding to pieces of it. All Republicans on the subcommittee supported motions for repeal or defunding
this year, but the amendments failed to pass after the votes fell along party lines. A House Republican aide said there’s no reason to think Republicans on Appropriations wouldn’t continue on the same path in the majority.
Repeal of the entire law wouldn’t get past Obama’s veto pen
and quite likely would struggle to pass the Senate, especially if the chamber is split about evenly. Instead, the likely route of an ascendant Republican majority next year would be to target unpopular provisions
of the law that could garner some bipartisan support to squeak through. Key provisions already targeted by Republicans include the 1099
tax-reporting requirements, the mandate
that nearly all Americans buy insurance, requirements on employers
to provide coverage and the state expansion of Medicaid
. Another likely target would be the new Independent Payment Advisory Board
, which the law requires be set up to help control Medicare spending.
Republicans could also use the reconciliation
process — which was used to get a package of repairs to the health law through the Senate in March — to stall portions of the law that increase spending. The upside of the reconciliation route is that it bypasses a Senate filibuster, but it’s also limited in scope and can’t be used to repeal the whole law. Rather, the budget resolution could instruct committees to write bills to reduce mandatory spending including that tied to the health law. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who is likely to become Budget Committee chairman if Republicans take control of the House, told CNBC recently that Republicans want to use reconciliation to scale back some of Obama’s policies.