House votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), moves forward with replacement legislation

By a vote of 245-189, the House of Representatives passed the Republican bill (HR 2) to repeal the law. With this largely symbolic vote completed, House Republicans are moving to replace the law.  Four committee chairmen – Dave Camp (R- MI) of Ways and Means, Fred Upton (R-MI) of Energy and Commerce, John Kline (R-MN) of Education and the Workforce; and Lamar Smith (R-TX) of Judiciary – plan to hold oversight hearings and draft bills to replace elements of the ACA.

Malpractice liability is expected to be the first issue to be taken up by House Republicans. They introduced bills highlighting two approaches to changing the system. One measure (HR 314), introduced by Rep. Thornberry (R-TX), would help states create specialized “health courts” featuring a judge with medical expertise or a panel of neutral experts to award damages. The second bill (HR 157), sponsored by Pete Sessions (R-TX), would protect physicians from litigation stemming from care provided as emergency services. Other measures introduced would allow consumers to purchase insurance across state lines, codify President Obama’s executive order clarifying that no federal funds could be used for abortions under the ACA, and permanently ban federal funding of abortion and eliminate tax breaks for health insurance premiums on policies that cover abortion-related services.

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