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The knives—and scalpels—are out to cut ObamaCare to ribbons or administer beneficial plastic surgery. Here are developments that can accomplish a coup d’etat or probably bring more rational health care to America.
Even with 87 new Republicans joining the new House of Representatives, a repeal bill has a steep hill to climb. But Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has said it is important to go through the process even if the Senate rejects such a kill or the President vetoes it. The Rasmussen Poll shows “59 percent of the voters favor repealing it. And it’s important to respond to the voters.”
Even in the event of a failure of full repeal, King says conservatives have another strategy. They control the purse strings and will shift their focus to defunding the new law through appropriations Congress must pass to finance the federal program. “It is essential that we have a record of lawmakers who vote for repeal and those who do not,” said King.
The incoming chairman of a key health subcommittee, Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Ohio), told Human Events Dec. 14 he plans a “piecemeal” effort to repeal the law. After voting for full repeal in the House, realizing this is quite unlikely, “we will then move on repealing select potions” of ObamaCare. He said he will meet in a strategy session with Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-Ohio) as well as Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) who will chair the House Energy Committee. Under Finance is the health subcommittee Pitts will chair.
Pitts said the “first strike” will be to pass last year’s Stupak-Pitts measure, to ban any tax dollars for abortion in the health legislation. Pitts also said high on the assault list is the tax form 1099 regulation. It requires more tax paperwork and documentation of expenses by health providers. Pitts called the regulation “onerous.” He said the plan to repeal it directly is sure to have widespread support—people in the health care industry are wondering, along with reasonable people everywhere, why government needs all this information. He also said he met with several state governors to discuss possible state waivers from health programs to devise more efficient and less expensive ways of dealing with health problems. “Medicaid is the biggest problem, of course. But…I hope we can turn as much as possible over to governors. The governors can provide lots of innovation; so I want to bring them in in a big way,” Pitts added. As to White House opposition: “We’ll just take our time,” Pitts said.
Pro-ObamaCare Democrats won’t sit idly by while Republicans try to defang ObamaCare. A regulation was put in place Jan. 1, for instance, to pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forego aggressive life-sustaining treatment. The provision was dropped from the health bill before it became law because it was so controversial. Now, Dr. Donald Berwick, head of Medicare and Medicaid, an advocate of cost-cutting and rationing, will be in charge. Doctors will be discussing with seniors at annual physicals the choices for ending life at some stage of illness. Anything to cut the cost of lingering illnesses–which in some cases may improve. Then what happens when an advance directive says: “Stop treatment.”
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