Republicans appear to have recognized that their best hope to overturn Obamacare lies in a strategy of targeting individual components rather than continuing to introduce all-or-nothing legislation aimed at repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
"We won't have 67 votes in the Senate. We could conjure up a good number in the House, but you'll never get a veto overridden in the Senate. [Obama's] going to veto it," Tennessee GOP Rep. Phil Roe told The Hill
Last week, Roe and 25 of his House colleagues signed on with the Pacific Legal Foundation to file an amicus brief
with the Supreme Court requesting the justices hear arguments in a case challenging the Independent Payment Advisory Board's (IPAB) constitutionality.
"Since the president signed his signature healthcare bill into law, we've seen many concerning parts of the law come to light. Perhaps one of the most troubling parts of Obamacare is the Independent Payment Advisory Board. The IPAB will consist of 15 unelected bureaucrats who are granted substantial powers to reduce Medicare spending," said Roe, who is the sponsor of legislation, H.R. 351
, which would repeal the IPAB.
"As a physician, I can tell you first-hand how troubling this mindset can be — every case is unique and must be treated that way. The IPAB is a serious threat to seniors' access to medical care, and I will continue to fight it both in Congress and by supporting legal challenges like the one the Goldwater Institute filed last month," he added.
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether or not to take the case, Coons v. Lew, by June 30, 2015, according to the Goldwater Institute
Sharing Roe's belief that a repeal of Obamacare is not in the cards is incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who told an audience last week at the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council annual meeting that considering the ACA has Obama's name on it, "the chances of his signing a full repeal are pretty limited."
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The Kentucky Republican was referring to the decision by the Supreme Court in November to hear arguments in King v. Burwell, a case which is directly challenging the constitutionality of providing subsidies to residents of 36 states to purchase health insurance while they also remain on the federal exchange.
At the core of that case is whether Congress intended for subsidies to be available to people signing up on the federal Obamacare exchange, which is how the IRS interpreted the law, or only to people signing up on state exchanges, as the text of the law reads.
If the court rules it is unconstitutional, McConnell said he assumed "you could have a mulligan here, a major do-over."
He said there are parts of it that are "fairly toxic" with the American people, including the medical device tax, requiring individuals to purchase health insurance and a 30-hour work-week to define full-time employment under the law. McConnell said legislation targeting all of those issues could be anticipated.
Outside of Congress, Obamacare also faces renewed opposition from the business community, particularly after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed legal challenges to certain workplace wellness programs, reports Reuters
"The fact that the EEOC sued is shocking to our members. They don't understand why a plan in compliance with the ACA is the target of a lawsuit," Maria Ghazal, vice president and counsel at the Business Roundtable, told Reuters.
The EEOC filed a lawsuit in November against Honeywell International and two smaller companies, arguing that a provision under Obamacare that grants companies authority to give financial incentives to employees for participating in wellness programs violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Specifically, the EEOC contends that assessing insurance surcharges on employees who don't comply with the wellness program violates the ADA's prohibition on requiring "medical examinations that aren't job-related," according to Bloomberg News
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