The U.S. House of Representatives tonight voted to repeal the new health care law, taking the initial step toward rolling back the massive overhaul. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon), who sponsored the repeal bill, voted in favor of the measure, which is a straight repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and all health care and tax provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
"This law is bad for our businesses, for our patients and doctors, and for the country. It's already negatively affected care and costs. People continue to want it repealed, and tonight, the House took the first major step toward meeting that expectation," said Thornberry.
The health care law is an issue that he hears about often, from both local businesses as well as concerned residents of the 13th District, Thornberry said. Recent polls indicate support for repeal of the bill remains strong. Large and small business groups across the country have been voicing support for the repeal, citing the bill's impact on companies and the overall economy.
In a letter delivered to the House Wednesday, a coalition representing the country's largest small business associations, including the Associated Builders and Contractors, the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Restaurant Association, the Printing Industries of America, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, warn that the health care law impedes hiring and growth. The letter outlines the groups' support for repeal of the new health care law. Additionally, a recent study by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), the nation's largest small business association, found that an employer mandate alone could lead to the elimination of 1.6 million jobs between 2009 and 2014, with 66 percent of those coming from small businesses.
The Speaker of the House John Boehner and the Republican majority have scheduled a vote for Thursday to instruct the committees to begin working on replacement reform bills. These alternative proposals contain a number of options, including creating lower health care premiums through increased competition and choice; providing access to affordable health care for people with pre-existing conditions; providing greater Medicaid flexibility for states; eliminating waste in the health care system; and banning federal funding for abortions.
On Tuesday, Thornberry introduced two pieces of health care reform legislation aimed at increasing access to affordable health care coverage. The first, H.R. 315, the Health Care Paperwork Reduction and Fraud Prevention Act, standardizes and simplifies billing practices while protecting patient privacy. Studies show upwards of 21 to 31 percent of all the money spent on health care in the U.S. is spent on paperwork and regulations.
The second bill, H.R. 314, the Medical Liability Procedural Reform Act, encourages states to establish health courts to decrease frivolous medical lawsuits and ensure access to the doctor of a patient's choice.
"My view is that we need reform. But Congress has a better chance of getting it right and of maintaining the trust of the American people if it takes reform in bite-sized chunks, starting with one or two reforms and building on them. These two bills represent solid first steps toward better care at lower costs to everyone," Thornberry said.