WASHINGTON, D.C., January 17, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - House Republicans have scheduled the debate and vote over repealing President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, which is criticized by pro-life groups for its lack of pro-life protections and its potential to end up as a funding spigot for abortion providers.
Pro-life Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has scheduled a Tuesday floor debate in the House of Representatives on H.R. 2, legislation which would fully repeal the Affordable Care Act (referenced by its critics as “ObamaCare”) passed last year by Democrats over the bipartisan opposition of some pro-life Democrats and the pro-life GOP caucus.
The actual repeal vote is scheduled for Wednesday.
However, Republicans say they fully intend to not only repeal the bill, but also replace it with a pro-life, patient-friendly reform bill that will be far more cost effective, but also give individuals a far wider range of insurance options to fit their own health needs. One of the centerpieces of the GOP reform effort is to allow individuals to purchase health policies across state lines, allowing them to break free of the monopoly hold that particular insurance companies have in several states.
On Thursday, the House will have to vote on H.R. 9, a bill that would instruct several House committees to craft new legislation to replace the ACA.
The repeal will also axe the individual mandate that forces all US citizens to buy health insurance (most of which is sold by private companies) or pay a fine to the federal government. The individual mandate is seen as an essential funding component of the ACA in order to make sure that any individual with a pre-existing health condition can buy insurance. Defenders of the mandate say that without it, individuals would just wait until they are sick to buy insurance.
The mandate itself has been the most contentious object in litigation actions by over half of US states and a number of private citizens. Two federal judges have upheld the ACA, but one federal judge in Richmond ruled the individual mandate an unconstitutional overreach by Congress. He said that the Commerce Clause does not allow Congress to regulate economic “inactivity” or failure to purchase a product, no matter how noble their regulatory intentions.
Another federal judge in Pensacola, Florida is expected soon to rule on the ACA’s individual mandate in a lawsuit brought against the federal government by more than 20 states’ attorneys general.
Boehner originally intended the House to vote on repeal last week, but postponed the legislative schedule after the January 8 Safeway massacre in Tucson, Arizona, where a lunatic gunman killed six persons, including a federal judge and a nine-year old girl born on September 11, 2001. Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the gunman’s primary target, was critically wounded with a gunshot wound to the head, but survived and has shown slow but steady improvement.
However, the House Speaker made clear that the traumatic Tucson events would not dissuade House Republicans from carrying out the agenda for which the American people elected them in November.
“No act of violence is going to keep us from doing our jobs and representing the will of our constituents,” Boehner said in a statement. “The American people have made it clear they want us to focus on cutting spending and removing barriers to job creation, and repealing the health care law is critical to fulfilling these priorities. The lawmakers, officials, and employees of the House have performed admirably in response to the tragedy in Arizona, and I know they will continue to do so as we return to the people’s business.”