The announcement that the incoming Republican-dominant House will vote next week to repeal last year’s landmark healthcare reform law indicates the new majority already is taking its eyes off the issue of job-creation, outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi contends.
The new House GOP leadership reportedly has set Jan. 12 as the day newly empowered Republicans will vote to wipe away the healthcare reform law that became a signature accomplishment for President Obama and congressional Democrats.
The 112th Congress opens Wednesday, beginning a period reflecting the Republican gains made in the November 2010 midterm elections. Pelosi is scheduled to hand her gavel to GOP Speaker-designate John Boehner.
Boehner last year led a charge against healthcare reform, calling it a dramatic government takeover of the U.S. healthcare system. However,
“As we begin the 112th Congress, the number one priority of House Democrats will continue to be putting Americans to work,” Pelosi says. “Each new proposal will be measured by a simple test: does it create jobs? Does it strengthen America’s middle class? And does it reduce the deficit? When our Republican colleagues put forward solutions to the problems facing Americans that meet these tests, they will find in Democrats a willing partner.
“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,” adds Pelosi, who Wednesday will return to the position of minority leader in the new Congress.
Recent polling puts the nation’s nearly-double-digit unemployment problem as far and away the top priority among Americans. Although conservatives revile the so-called “Obamacare” law, healthcare is a top issue for just 9 percent of the public.
The U.S. unemployment rate continues to hover dangerously close to 10 percent, with unemployment often higher in specific regions across the country.
Pelosi also pledged to prevent the new Republicans from carrying out their hoped-for repeal.
“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 says.
Given that he spent more than a year of his presidency fighting for the overhaul of the health insurance system, Obama also likely is to fight a repeal of healthcare reform, perhaps wielding his veto for the first time.
The publisher of the news site On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.