House Committees to Develop Health Care Reform Replacement Legislation Despite Liberal Rant

January 20, 2011

Diane W. Collins


Rep. James Lankford (R-OK)

Congress Freshman


Today the House passed H Res. 9 as amended by a 253 to 175 vote. The resolution instructs four committees of jurisdiction to begin developing replacement legislation for the House repealed Health Care Reform Act .


Republicans on the floor deflected the remarks of liberal Democrats who attempted to paint the resolution as a "press release" rather than a bill that moves the "repeal and replace" process forward. Rep. James McGovern, (D-MA) pointed to the two page bill that (pre-amendment) listed twelve areas of discussion for committees and stated it had no real substance, "a political ploy." The liberal Democrats continued with the vitriol of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and others who certainly did not represent President Obama's statement of cooperation. Obviously, liberal Democrats are unfamiliar with the process of building bipartisan legislation in committee as demonstrated by the 111th Congress under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi.


The idea behind H Res. 9 is to set a general framework for both parties to participate in constructing true reform. Republicans are looking for legislation that provides market based solutions which "create jobs, get our economy back on track, and provide greater access to quality care," as described by Rep. David Dreier (R-CA), Chair of the House Rules Committee.


The four committees of jurisdiction as listed in H Res. 9 are the Committee on Education and the Workforce, the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on Ways and Means. The original twelve points include the following: (1) foster economic growth and private sector job creation by eliminating job-killing policies and regulations; (2) lower health care premiums through increased competition and choice; (3) preserve a patient’s ability to keep his or her health plan if he or she likes it; (4) provide people with pre-existing conditions access to affordable health coverage; (5) reform the medical liability system to reduce unnecessary and wasteful health care spending; (6) increase the number of insured Americans; (7) protect the doctor-patient relationship; (8) provide the States greater flexibility to administer Medicaid programs; (9) expand incentives to encourage personal responsibility for health care coverage and costs; (10) prohibit taxpayer funding of abortions and provide conscience protections for health care providers; (11) eliminate duplicative government programs and wasteful spending; or (12) do not accelerate the insolvency of entitlement programs or increase the tax burden on Americans.


The Matheson Amendment offered by Jim Matheson (D-UT), member of the House Rules Committee added a permanent "doc fix" for Medicare payments increasing the list to thirteen categories. Rep. Dreier (R-CA), Chair of the House Rules Committee and sponsor of H Res. 9 supported the amendment and recognized it as the beginning of a bipartisan solution on replacement legislation. The Matheson Amendment passed with strong bipartisan support. Unfortunately, although H Res. 9 passed as amended by a vote of 253 to 175 it appears bipartisan support stopped with the Matheson Amendment. Regardless, Republicans move forward with the congressional approach to repealing and replacing President Obama's Health Care Reform Act while action in the courts and state governments work in concert.


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