By Elise Viebeck - 02/03/14 09:00 AM EST
House Republicans will turn their focus to ObamaCare's “risk corridors” provision this week, as the GOP seeks leverage in the fight over the debt limit.
The House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on the ObamaCare payment program, which critics have dubbed a "bailout" for health insurance companies.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has voiced opposition to accepting a "clean" debt-ceiling increase, but Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has sought to lower GOP expectations for the fight, noting the White House's refusal to negotiate has "narrowed" the party's options.
The risk corridors are a temporary pool of money to pay insurance companies who enroll a higher-than-expected number of sick patients on ObamaCare's exchanges.
While insurers will contribute to the pool themselves, critics say the program puts too much taxpayer money on the line. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.) are behind two repeal bills that Democrats have criticized as attempts to undermine the healthcare law.
The rest of the week will include a handful of hearings on ObamaCare, a surgeon general nominee, marijuana use and food safety.
The House Ways and Means Committee will also mark up a bill on Tuesday to repeal ObamaCare's 30-hour definition of full-time work.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday will consider the nomination of Vivek Hallegere Murthy for surgeon general.
Murthy is an attending physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and leads Doctors for America, a group that has promoted the Affordable Care Act.
Back on the House side, lawmakers on Tuesday will debate the Obama administration's policy on marijuana. Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Oversight subcommittee on Government Operations, will lead the event.
There will also be two House subcommittee hearings on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and new, nonprofit health plans authorized by ObamaCare.
Both will take place Wednesday, with the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health examining the FSMA while two subpanels of the Oversight Committee look at the healthcare law's Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, or CO-OP program.