The Republican-led House is set to begin February with a vote to repeal ObamaCare, making clear that trying to dismantle the health-care law remains a top priority.
The scheduled vote next week was announced in a new memo from House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy to fellow GOP House members in which he said the effort to repeal the legislation will give them an opportunity to tell voters that health care decisions “should be made by patients and their doctors, not by Washington.”
The California lawmaker also stated that members should remind Americans that the country needs solutions that reduce costs and give them access to “21st Century cures and treatments” -- an often repeated message at congressional Republicans’ policy retreat earlier this month.
“First, we will consider (a bill) to protect individuals from government-imposed cost increases and reduced access to care and coverage by repealing ObamaCare,” McCarthy said in the memo obtain Thursday by Fox News.
GOP House and Senate leaders emerged from the retreat saying they intend to fix problems associated with ObamaCare but with no clear plan on whether they would focus on a full repeal or just change parts.
The House has already voted this year to redefine full-time work under the law -- an attempt to keep businesses from hiring part-time workers to avoid having to offer insurance.
And chamber leaders also want to repeal the law’s tax on medical-device makers, which they say is hurting businesses and has bipartisan support.
Last week, leaders of the now GOP-controlled Senate introduced legislation to eliminate the law’s so-called employer mandate, arguing that companies with 50 or more workers should not be required to pay for employee health insurance.
However, President Obama has made clear he will veto any legislation that he thinks scales back access to health care that his law now provides to millions of previously uninsured Americans.
The president and fellow Democrats have also been critical about Republicans’ repeated attempts to repeal the law without party leaders presenting a viable alternative.
The repeal vote next week will be the first for newly elected members to show where they stand on the issue.
McCarthy, in his memo, instructed relevant House committees to “develop our patient-centered health care reforms."
Congressional Republicans have acknowledged that a Supreme Court case on ObamaCare tax subsidies for customers will impact their strategy.
If the subsidies are rules unconstitutional, the law could unravel on its own, say some observers. The ruling is expected by June.