Leading House Democrats wasted no time this week slamming a Republican proposal to repeal the new healthcare reform law, accusing GOP leaders of putting politics and industry interests above the economy.
"As we begin the 112th Congress, the number one priority of House Democrats will continue to be putting Americans to work," incoming-Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement late Monday. “Instead of joining Democrats in our efforts for job creation, Republicans are planning to put insurance companies back in charge by repealing patient’s rights."
GOP leaders introduced their two-page repeal bill Monday night. The bill marks an effort by Republicans to make good on one of their central campaign-trail pledges of November's midterm elections.
The bill is expected to pass the lower chamber but is unlikely to make it through the Senate, where Democrats retain the majority.
Republicans contend the law represents a government takeover of the nation's healthcare system at the expense of patients and taxpayers alike. A provision requiring individuals to purchase insurance coverage has come under particular fire, despite receiving broad GOP support in years past.
Pelosi noted that repealing the law fully eliminates not only controversial provisions like the individual mandate, but popular consumer protections as well.
“House Democrats will fight to ensure that children with pre-existing conditions continue to get coverage; that young people can stay on their parents’ plans until age 26; that pregnant women and breast cancer survivors can no longer be thrown off the rolls; and that seniors do not pay higher drug prices,” she said.
Other Democrats are attacking the repeal proposal from an angle of deficit spending. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the law will save taxpayers $143 billion over the next decade, but Republicans have proposed a rule allowing them to ignore that figure from deficit-spending considerations in their repeal bill.
"The reckless Republican repeal of health care is a budget busting bailout for insurance companies that will kill jobs, raise Americans' taxes, and deny critical care to women and children," Rep. George Miller (Calif.), the top-ranked Democrat on the Education and Labor Committee, said Monday in a statement.
"It is unconscionable that Republicans plan on ramming the bill through the House without exploring the disastrous impact repeal will have on Americans."
A procedural vote on the GOP repeal bill is scheduled for Friday, with the final vote set for Jan. 12.