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Obama promises to veto health care repeal, poll finds public 'closely divided'

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Obama promises to veto health care repeal, poll finds public 'closely divided'

CBO estimates repeal to cost $230 billion

The Obama Administration issued a letter Thursday saying that the White House opposes repeal of the health overhaul and that Obama would veto it if it reaches his desk:


H. R. 2 – Repealing the Affordable Care Act

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 2 because it would explode the deficit, raise costs for the American people and businesses, deny an estimated 32 million people health insurance, and take us back to the days when insurers could deny, limit or drop coverage for any American.

In a preliminary analysis of H.R. 2, the Congressional Budget Office found that repealing the law would increase the deficit by $230 billion in the first decade and roughly one-half of one percent of GDP, or over a trillion dollars, in the second decade; increase the number of uninsured Americans by 32 million; impose higher premiums on large firms; and cause consumers who buy coverage in the individual market to pay more out of pocket for fewer benefits. Medicare's insolvency would be accelerated by repeal – the Medicare actuaries previously stated that the Affordable Care Act extended solvency by 12 years. Repealing the Affordable Care Act would not only increase deficits in the coming decade, but would also significantly worsen the long-term fiscal burdens on American businesses and families.

When the Affordable Care Act provisions are fully in effect, insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against any American with a preexisting condition, charge women higher rates, or charge drastically higher premiums for older Americans. H.R. 2 would eliminate the important patient protections, coverage expansions, affordability provisions, and fiscal savings in the Affordable Care Act. If the President were presented with H.R. 2, he would veto it.

New poll finds Americans split on repeal; divide on Capitol Hill deepens

A new Gallup Poll found that public opinion is "closely divided" over whether Congress should vote to undo the health law. And on Capitol Hill, the divide is deep and entrenched, closely tracking with political loyalties. Even as GOP leaders point to the push to stop the health law as a way to "send a signal" to the American people, Senate Dems are plotting action of their own.

USA Today: Gallup Poll: U.S. Split On Health Care Law Repeal
Americans are closely divided over whether the new Republican-controlled House should vote to repeal the health care law that was enacted just last year, a Gallup Poll finds (Page and Kennedy, 1/7).

Politico: Eric Cantor: GOP Still Pushing To Repeal Health Law
A top House Republican said Thursday that the GOP is going full speed ahead to repeal President Barack Obama's health care reform to "send a signal" to the American people, even though Senate Democrats have the votes to thwart any rollback (Epstein, 1/6).

Politico: Anti-Reform Dems Cool To Repeal Vote
Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) attacked the health care bill in March as a massive government overreach, weighted down with new taxes but short on real reforms. But repeal it, the way House Republicans would? No way, says Shuler, one of his party's most conservative members (Brown and Haberkorn, 1/7).

CQ HealthBeat: HELP Committee Plans Hearings On Health Care Law To Counter House GOP
Senate Democrats are joining in an all-hands-on deck effort to defend their embattled health care law with a series of hearings on the measure's benefits announced Thursday for the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee (Norman, 1/6).

Roll Call: White House: Health Care Repeal Won't Happen
The White House issued a statement of administration policy indicating that Obama "strongly opposes" a bill introduced by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) that would repeal the overhaul, which was signed into law last year (Bendery, 1/6).

CBO estimates repeal to cost $230 billion

With the CBO findings, GOP efforts to undo the health law and claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility took a hit. Democrats immediately pounced on the cost estimate as new ammunition in an ongoing battle. But Republican leaders dismissed the document, saying it is a "job-killing" measure that would add to the nation's debt and instead pointed to a report of their own.

The Washington Post: CBO Says Health Care Repeal Would Deepen Deficit
Rescinding the federal law to overhaul the health-care system, the first objective of House Republicans who ascended to power this week, would ratchet up the federal deficit by about $230 billion over the next decade and leave 32 million more Americans uninsured, according to congressional budget analysts (Goldstein, 1/7).

Los Angeles Times: Cost Of Healthcare Repeal Put At $230 Billion
The Republican plan to repeal the healthcare law would drive up federal deficits by $230 billion by 2021, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded Thursday, undercutting GOP efforts to seize the mantle of fiscal responsibility (Levey, 1/7).

Reuters: Republican Bid To Scrap Healthcare Hits Snag
Republican efforts to scrap President Barack Obama's health care reform took a hit on Thursday when budget analysts said repeal would add billions of dollars to the federal budget deficit. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated overturning the reform signed by Obama last year would add about $230 billion to the deficit by 2021 and result in 32 million fewer people having health insurance (Whitesides and Cowan, 1/6).

The New York Times: Republicans Are Given A Price Tag For Health Law Repeal, But Reject It
The nonpartisan budget scorekeepers in Congress said on Thursday that the Republican plan to repeal President Obama's health care law would add $230 billion to federal budget deficits over the next decade, intensifying the first legislative fight of the new session and highlighting the challenge Republicans face in pursuing their agenda (Herszenhorn and Pear, 1/6).

Bloomberg: House Speaker Boehner Says Repealing Health-Care Won't Increase Deficit
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said repealing the 2010 health-care overhaul would not increase the federal budget deficit, disputing an estimate by congressional budget analysts. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated today that repealing the health-care law would deepen the deficit by $145 billion from 2012 to 2019. Boehner, an Ohio Republican who became speaker [Wednesday], told reporters, "I do not believe that repealing the job- killing health-care bill is going to increase the deficit" (Lerer, 1/6).

Modern Healthcare: GOP Report Rips Health Reform Law
The new Republican majority in the House released a report Thursday they say makes a case for repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which they plan to do next week. Called "ObamaCare: A Budget-Busting, Job-Killing Health Care Law," the report cites analysis from Republicans in the House Budget Committee showing the law will cost the nation $2.6 trillion when fully implemented and add $701 billion to the deficit in the first 10 years (Zigmond, 1/6).

The Fiscal Times: Despite GOP Slam, CBO Confirms Health Care Savings
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the chair of the House Budget Committee, immediately slammed the new CBO analysis, which he attributed to budget tricks in the legislation. 'Our dispute is not with the hard-working, non-partisan professionals at the Congressional Budget Office. CBO scores what is put in front of them – and what Democrats put in front of them last year was legislation packed with smoke and mirrors to hide the impact of trillions of dollars in new spending.' The CBO letter noted that the increase in federal spending on health care between 2010 and 2019 would actually be about $400 billion. That is paid for in the legislation by increased efficiencies in Medicare, lowering payments to insurance companies that sell Medicare Advantage programs, and higher fees on medical device companies, among other revenue raising measures (Goozner, 1/6).

Politico: Democrats Pounce On CBO Repeal Estimate
Democrats head into the first House health care reform repeal vote today with fresh ammo: a Congressional Budget Office estimate that repeal would increase the deficit by $230 billion by 2021 (Kliff, 1/7).

The Hill: House Dems Slam GOP For Dismissing CBO Estimate On Healthcare Repeal
House Democratic leaders on Thursday blasted Republicans for dismissing the official cost estimate of health care repeal in favor of their own analysis (Lillis and Millman, 1/6).

Meanwhile, the march toward the all-important House vote continues.

The Associated Press: House Plans Test Vote Friday On Health Care Repeal
The House opens a largely symbolic debate Friday on whether to repeal President Barack Obama's landmark health care overhaul, the culmination of the first week with Republicans back in charge. A procedural vote around midday will set the rules for formal debate and final action next Wednesday. House Republicans want to repeal Obama's plan to expand coverage to more than 30 million uninsured and start over again with a more modest, less costly approach (1/7).

Fact-checking claims in the overhaul debate

News outlets review some of the health law's policy specifics and ask questions about its components, such as how the law's prevention fund is faring.  

NPR: With A New Congress, It's High Time For Some Health Overhaul Facts
With the debate over health overhaul back in full force, we figured it's time to take another look at some of the claims being thrown around by Republicans and Democrats about the effect of the law and what might happen if it's repealed (Rovner, 1/6).

CQ HealthBeat: Whither The Overhaul Law's Prevention Fund?
To critics, it's a waste of taxpayer money, a "slush fund" politicians can tap into to throw precious taxpayer dollars at ill-defined local projects. To public health officials, however, the $15 billion the overhaul law allots over 10 years to ward off disease is an essential investment in maintaining basic public health functions and in improving the physical and mental well-being of an increasingly sickly population. Public health lobbyists are determined to protect the fund — and it looks like they'll have their work cut out for them. Senate Republicans already have attempted to zero the fund out and use the savings to offset the legislative costs of repealing the controversial "1099" provisions of the overhaul law that small businesses say will crush them with paperwork (Reichard, 1/6).

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent news service. It is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health-care-policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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