The House, with its existing committee structure, passed more than 30 bills over the past two years to repeal or weaken all or part of the Affordable Care Act. Several committees have held relentless oversight hearings and investigated the implementation effort.
With Obama back in the White House and Democrats still in control of the Senate, many Republicans — including Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerBoehner endorses DeVos for Education secretary Trump, House GOP could clash over 'Buy America' Lobbying World MORE (R-Ohio) — have acknowledged that the healthcare law is here to stay. But Hastings said his new committee is the key to eventually repealing ObamaCare.
"As our Republican House Majority prepares to grapple with another four years of the Obama presidency, our conference has an opportunity to aggressively target ObamaCare and the threats it poses to America’s economy and our freedoms," Hastings wrote. "How is this possible when President Obama and Senate Democrats stand in the way? The answer is we take decisive action over that which we control entirely: the organization and operation of the House of Representatives."
The letter was also signed by Reps. Reid RibbleReid RibbleWith Trump, conservatives hope for ally in 'War on Christmas' GOP rushes to embrace Trump House stays Republican as GOP limits losses MORE (R-Wis.) and Rob WoodallRob WoodallBill to overturn last Obama regulations heads to House floor Overnight Finance: Senate rejects funding bill as shutdown looms | Labor Dept. to probe Wells Fargo | Fed to ease stress test rules for small banks Lawmakers clash over race claims in Flint aid delay MORE (R-Ga.)
They said a new committee should have jurisdiction over all federal health programs. That authority is now spread across several panels — Ways and Means controls Medicare, while Energy and Commerce share jurisdiction over Medicaid. The complex committee structure is standing in Republicans' way, Hastings argued.
"By taking the simple and dramatic step of establishing a new House Committee on Health Care, into which all healthcare jurisdiction is consolidated, we can most effectively challenge ObamaCare and create a forum for generating positive healthcare solutions for our nation. This would be a fully-empowered permanent standing committee with complete legislative and jurisdictional authority over healthcare – not a temporary, duplicative or toothless 'select' committee," Hastings wrote.