Many Republicans hope to use the attention on the federal health reform law generated by the overhaul's two-year anniversary this week and next week's Supreme Court hearings to keep chipping away at the law, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
The Republican National Committee and allies in key swing states this week are launching an advertising campaign to highlight increased premiums, dropped coverage and new taxes that have resulted from the overhaul.
IPAB Repeal Efforts
Meanwhile, House Republicans on Wednesday are expected to vote on a measure (HR 5) to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board created by the health reform law, after markup in the Rules Committee on Tuesday. The measure initially was expected to pass with bipartisan support, but that is less likely now that Republicans have included medical malpractice legislation in the measure (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/19).
The measure still is expected to pass with support from Republicans and some Democrats, according to the Washington Post's "2chambers." It then would advance to the Senate, where Democrats are unlikely to support it (O'Keefe, "2chambers," Washington Post, 3/19).
Some Republicans Concerned About Piecemeal Strategy
Some Republicans are concerned that the GOP's piecemeal strategy will hinder the party's goal of a full repeal of the health reform law, "Healthwatch" reports.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) in a Washington Times opinion piece published on Friday criticized House GOP leaders for scheduling the vote on the IPAB repeal measure. They wrote that a debate in the 2012 elections focused on whether to repeal the overhaul would "do our nation credit and do great service to the electorate."
However, they wrote that the "clarity of that choice may soon be muddied, not by Democrats desperate to hide from their record, but inexplicably, by Republicans pushing a vote on a bill to undo one part of" the overhaul.
Meanwhile, several conservative advocacy groups -- led by the Conservative Action Project -- in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) called the IPAB repeal vote "misguided" (Pecquet , "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/16).
Supreme Court To Release Audio Recordings of Hearings
In related news, the Supreme Court on Friday announced that it will release same-day audio recordings of the hearings on the constitutionality of the federal health reform law, the New York Times reports.
The court typically releases audio recordings of arguments at the end of the week, but in a statement said it would release the recordings each day "because of the extraordinary public interest" in the case (Liptak, New York Times, 3/16).
The statement did not address requests from media organizations and lawmakers to televise the arguments (Barnes, Washington Post, 3/16).
Labor Secretary Pushes for Hispanic Support in Opinion Piece
Meanwhile, the Obama administration recently began courting support for the health reform law from Hispanics, "Healthwatch" reports.
In a Spanish-language opinion piece published on Friday in ImpreMedia newspapers, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis wrote that Hispanic residents have the most to gain from the overhaul because they have the highest rates of uninsured residents out of any ethnic group.
Solis added that about 700,000 Hispanics under the age of 26 already have benefitted from a provision in the overhaul requiring health plans to allow parents to keep their young adult children on their insurance policies (Pecquet , "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/16).