Not even two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, widely considered a major public health victory, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to take up a measure today to repeal the law in its entirety.
“The majority in the House of Representatives is once again playing politics with our health in their latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act,” said Georges Benjamin, executive director of APHA. “These efforts are distracting and do nothing to reduce rates of chronic disease, increase productivity and control costs within the health system. It is only by ensuring full implementation of the law and improving upon it that we can set our country on a path towards these goals.”
Wednesday’s vote will be the 31st time since its enactment that the House has attempted to dismantle all or parts of the law. During a press conference on Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the law is “driving up the cost of health care and making it harder for small businesses to create jobs.” Yet, Republican lawmakers calling for repeal have yet to bring any substantive “replace” proposals to the floor.
“Now that the Supreme Court has issued a decision, the American people would be better served if Congress joined the president in working to build on that progress, not undo it,” said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a Washington Post op-ed earlier this week.
HHS announced on Tuesday that, thanks to the law, more than 16 million people with Medicare received free preventive services this year. Prior to 2011, Medicare beneficiaries faced cost-sharing for many preventive benefits that can be prohibitive to care.
The repeal bill is not expected to be taken up in the U.S. Senate.