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House Votes to Repeal ACA as Committees Explore the Law’s Impact on Health Care

July 13, 2012—A subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform July 10 held a hearing, “Examining the Impact of Obamacare on Doctors and Patients.” Though Republicans and Democrats on the subcommittee disagreed about the effect the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152) will have on the health care system, members of both parties expressed concern about how looming physician workforce shortages may limit patient access to health care services.

The hearing—one of three recent hearings setting the stage for the House’s July 11 vote to repeal the ACA—featured testimony from a panel of witnesses representing physicians and patients. The House approved the repeal bill (H.R. 6079) with five Democrats voting with Republicans, 244-185, though the measure is not expected to advance in the Senate.

In opening the hearing, Subcommittee Chair Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) cited AAMC’s projected shortage of physicians, and noted, “Compounding this problem will be a surge in demand … Without fundamental reform, our nation’s health care infrastructure will not be able to handle this surge in demand.” Subcommittee Republicans and members of the GOP Doctors Caucus also raised concerns about tort reform, low Medicaid reimbursement rates, medical guidelines, and uncertainty among health professionals about the future practice environment.

Meanwhile, Democrats defended the law, noting that similar reforms implemented in Massachusetts in 2006 have had an overall positive effect on the doctor-patient relationship. In response to comments by Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) that an insurance card is a “key in the door” for receiving health care but does not necessarily guarantee access to care, Ranking Member Danny Davis (D-Ill.) concurred. He pointed out, “Insurance does not necessarily mean access to care. We have serious manpower shortage areas. We have areas where there are no physicians. We have areas where there are no facilities.”

Rep. Davis also described that the increased demand presents a “tremendous opportunity” for young Americans “to go to medical school, to go and be trained, so that you can provide care for these millions of people who don’t have any.”

Other hearings preceding the House vote to repeal ACA included a July 10 hearing by the full House Oversight Committee regarding the ACA’s impact on job creators and the economy, and a July 10 hearing in the Ways and Means Committee on how the Supreme Court decision on ACA affects Congress’s taxing authority.


Len Marquez
Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-862-6281

Tannaz Rasouli
Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach
Telephone: 202-828-0525


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
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Telephone: 202-903-0806