This Week – January 21, 2011

This Week in Washington DC:

  1. House Votes to Repeal Health Reform Law
  2. Six States Join Lawsuit Challenging Health Reform Law

House Votes to Overturn Health Reform Law
On Wednesday, House Republicans made good on a campaign promise to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by passing a bill repealing the health care overall passed in March 2010. By a vote of 245-198, every Republican supported the measure as well as three Democrats: Dan Boren (OK), Mike McIntyre (NC), and Mike Ross (AR). However, ten Democrats who voted against the health reform law last year also voted against repealing the law this week.

This vote is largely seen as a symbolic move by House Republicans. The Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) has already vowed to block the bill from coming to the Senate floor. President Obama is also on record to veto any repeal bill that reaches his desk.

Republican House Leadership also tasked its committee chairmen with health care jurisdiction to begin holding hearings and drafting legislation to repeal the health reform law in piecemeal. This is expected to be a common theme throughout 2011. House Republicans have yet to divulge their legislative plans to replace the current health reform law but it is expected to included provisions related to medical malpractice liability reform, codifying an Executive Order prohibiting any federal funds under the law for abortion, and allowing residents to purchase health insurance across state lines. It is worth noting that the current law allows states to join the same “health exchange,” which in effect would pool residents from multiple states together to purchase health insurance. House Republicans will likely try to weaken the law by preventing the use of federal funds to implement various provisions in the law.

ACG will keep its membership up to date with the latest developments and will also closely monitor any changes for the impact on clinical gastroenterology.

Health Reform Lawsuit Picks up Six More States
Also on Wednesday, Federal District Court Judge Roger K. Vinson granted a motion to add six more states to the multistate lawsuit challenging the health reform law. This brings the total number of states challenging the law to twenty six. The case is before a federal district court in Florida. These six states include: Ohio, Iowa, Kansas, Wyoming, Wisconsin, and Maine. Judge Vinson is expected to issue a ruling soon.

The twenty other states in this lawsuit include: AL, AK, AZ, CO, FL, GA, ID, IN, LA, MI, MS, NE, NV, ND, PA, SC, SD, TX, UT, and WA. In additional to the lawsuit in Florida, two states – Oklahoma and Virginia – are pursuing separate legal challenges to the law as well.

ACG is closely following the various lawsuits challenging the health reform law and will alert membership with any updates.

Please stay tuned for further updates. Please also share and discuss your thoughts with fellow ACG members on the ACG GI Circle. To login and share your comments, visit www.acg-gi-circle.within3.com. If you have not yet activated your ACG GI Circle account, please email us at acgcirclefeedback@within3.com.

Contact Brad Conway, VP Public Policy, with any questions or for more information.

Brad Conway
bconway@acg.gi.org
301.263.9000