House GOP seeks healthcare law alternative

Jan. 20, 2011 at 4:43 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. House resolved 273-175 Thursday that committees should begin work on replacing the healthcare law, with 14 Democrats joining Republicans in support.

House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, said the panels will be "replacing the job-destroying healthcare law with common-sense reforms that lower costs and protect jobs," USA Today reported.

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said, "We will use every tool at our disposal to dismantle this law and develop a better path forward," the report said. Upton is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of five panels with some responsibility for healthcare issues.

Half the states have joined lawsuits filed by Florida and Virginia to overturn the law's mandate that all Americans obtain health insurance coverage.

But Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and other Democrats accused the GOP of having no specifics on how to replace the law, which is designed to expand insurance coverage to 32 million Americans, USA Today reported.

"The American people don't want to go backwards by repealing these new rights and doing so without a specific plan to replace it is simply irresponsible," Hollen said. Hollen is the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said the legislation will be unsuccessful in the Senate and President Obama has said he would veto it if it comes to his desk.

The House committees plan to reintroduce legislation to limit medical-malpractice claims and cut the costs of defensive medicine, defined by Republicans as diagnostic or therapeutic measures that doctors conduct more to protect themselves against possible malpractice liability than to ensure a patient's health.

The resolution passed Thursday also called for the committees to prohibit taxpayer funding of abortions, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Republican leaders set no timetable for the committees to draft the alternatives, Boehner said.

Before any new legislation is proposed, Republicans said they would also seek to withhold money federal officials need to administer and enforce the Affordable Care Act.

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