House Leaders Frame Next Steps for Round 2 of Health Reform Debate

BY Linda J. Scott  January 18, 2011 at 6:15 PM EDT

On a day when debate began on the House floor over whether to repeal the health care law passed last year, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer both met with the media in separate news conferences. Cantor used his forum to deride the policy already signed into law by President Obama.

“Obamacare did not lower costs and it will cost small business more money. More people will fall into government run health care and will therefore add to the debt. It’s a bill whose numbers just don’t quite jibe and it’s an unsustainable entitlement,” he said.

But Hoyer said that even though there is some division, repeal of the law is exactly what the American people don’t want.

“If we repeal health care, what we’ll do is in effect is repeal the Patient’s Bill of Rights, not letting the patients and doctors make their own decisions; repeal seniors’ help with their prescriptions and pre-existing conditions. This is inconsistent with what the American people want.”

House Democrats say further that Republicans are wasting their time trying to repeal health care because there are not enough votes to repeal the law in the Senate, where the process would die. But Cantor was up to that challenge.

“I don’t accept that. If Majority Leader Harry Reid feels he’s so confident in that body, then let him bring it up for a vote.