HEALTH REFORM -- January 7, 2011 at 4:14 PM ET
Health Reform Watch: Repeal Vote Set for Wednesday, CBO Says Repeal Would Raise Deficit
Updated: Jan. 10, 11:50 a.m.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Sunday postponed the House's legislative agenda, including a planned Wednesday vote to repeal health care reform, due to the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
The NewsHour's Morning Line reports:
A week that looked to be full of heated partisan rhetoric as Republicans work to repeal the health care reform law will instead have a much more subdued tone.
"We believe that that the bill needs to be repealed and replaced with a much better approach to ensuring that we have quality and affordable health care in this country. And that continues to be a high priority for the House Republicans and the new majority," Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said, R-Wash, said on Fox News Sunday, according to Politico. "We're just going to wait and make sure that we're responding appropriately to the current situation."
Updated: Jan. 7, 4:14 p.m. ET
House Sets up Wednesday Vote on Repeal
The showdown over health care reforms continues. The House of Representatives will vote next week on a bill to repeal the health care reform law. The House passed a procedural measure Friday that sets up a final vote for Wednesday of next week. The procedural measure passed 236-181 mostly along party lines, with four Democrats joining the unanimous Republicans in favor.
The repeal bill is expected to pass the House, but Democrats in the Senate have promised to stop it, and the White House has said that the president would veto it if it came to his desk.
CBO: Repeal Would Raise Deficit
As the repeal rhetoric heated up this week, Democrats seized on a report [PDF] issued Thursday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that found that repealing the law would increase the federal budget deficit by $230 billion by 2021, and would leave 32 million fewer people with health insurance by 2019.
But Republican House Speaker John Boehner dismissed the report, saying it was based on false assumptions in the bill.
Recession Slows Health Care Spending Growth
Health care spending in the U.S. rose 4 percent in 2009, to $2.5 trillion, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Thursday. That's the slowest rate of growth in 50 years, CMS said, as the recession held down consumer spending on health care.
But because the whole economy contracted last year, health care spending actually made up a larger percentage of the GDP than ever before: 17.6 percent, or one percentage point higher than in 2008.
A Quick Reversal on End-of-Life Planning
In a quick reversal, the Obama administration said on Wednesday that it would remove controversial language on end-of-life planning from a Medicare regulation that went into effect Jan. 1. The rule would have allowed doctors to be reimbursed for discussing end-of-life planning with their patients during the new annual Medicare wellness visit. The New York Times reports:
While administration officials cited procedural reasons for changing the rule, it was clear that political concerns were also a factor. The renewed debate over advance care planning threatened to become a distraction to administration officials who were gearing up to defend the health law against attack by the new Republican majority in the House.