House and Senate Republicans have written at least 30 bills that would roll back provisions of the health-care overhaul Obama signed into law in March.
Such efforts may help Wellpoint and rival health insurers escape regulations on how much they spend on patient care and let Boston Scientific Corp. and other medical-device makers dodge $20 billion in tax increases over the next decade.
“You can literally open the bill and point your finger to a page and say, ‘Here’s something we should go after,’” said Representative Michael C. Burgess of Texas, a Republican who serves on the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee. “It’s all bad.”
The Republicans’ push will force Democrats to vote on whether to defend the most controversial parts of the law, such as requiring insurance for all Americans, said Tom Scully, the former chief of the Medicare program under President George W. Bush.
Republicans also want to go after a requirement that businesses of all sizes report to the Internal Revenue Service any expenditures of more than $600, and they probably will target the budgets of agencies that are implementing the law.
The split Congress ensures there won’t be an outright repeal of the law that Republicans such as Representative John Boehner, who is in position to become the new speaker of the House, have called for, Scully said.
“Very little will happen in the next two years, but it will be a big political battle,” said Scully, senior counsel at the Washington office of Alston & Bird LLP.
By Mark Drajem November 03, 2010, 12:33 AM EDT