Boehner: 'Obamacare' replacement bill to come

Jan. 17, 2014 at 12:30 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. House Republicans plan to introduce a bill to swap President Obama's healthcare law for a lower-cost, "patient-centered" system, Speaker John Boehner said.

"I think you'll see Republicans come forward with a plan to replace 'Obamacare,'" the Ohio Republican told reporters, using the informal term for the Affordable Care Act, "a plan that will actually reduce costs for the American people and make health insurance more accessible."

The replacement measure will be "one of the big issues" House Republicans discuss at their annual policy retreat in Cambridge, Md., near Annapolis, at the end of the month, Boehner said.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said Wednesday he hoped the retreat -- at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina -- would also lay out plans for tax reform, for privacy-law changes and to increase states' powers to combat poverty, the Hill newspaper reported.

Boehner faces mounting pressure from House conservatives who say Republicans cannot win elections simply by denouncing Obama and the struggling healthcare law.

"Just being against Obama is not a vision for winning electoral victories in the future," the Hill quoted Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, as saying.

Boehner told reporters at his weekly news conference Thursday the party -- ahead of November's midterm elections, when all House seats and a third of Senate seats are up for a ballot vote -- will increasingly make clear what it stands for, not just what it is against.

"It's important for us as a party, especially in an election year, to tell people what you're for," Boehner said. "We're for getting rid of Obamacare and replacing it with a patient-centered healthcare system. And I think you'll see ample evidence of this.

"We believe in tax reform. Closing loopholes, getting rid of unnecessary deductions, lowering rates will be good for our economy and help create more jobs," Boehner said.

"We believe in education reform. It's time that we allow parents to be more engaged in the selection of schools for their kids. We educate half of America's kids; it's a disgrace," he said.

"So we're going to outline these issues," Boehner said. "Many of them will be voted on, I'm sure, in the coming year."

In Capitol Hill meetings Wednesday, conservatives agreed to push the House leadership to commit to an ambitious list of items that will actually be voted on by lawmakers, not just introduced.

"I don't want to see us just come up with a vision," Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., said in remarks quoted by the Hill. "I want to see us devote considerable floor time in this calendar year to implementing that vision."

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