Huge amounts of rhetorical energy bad-mouthing the health care reform legislation are being expended, and various means of repealing it are pushing forward even as the rolling-out of the bill continues apace. But the repeal process may yet be a rockier one than House Republicans expected.
The repeal effort was turned over to the House Judiciary Committee as part of the new House Republican majority’s decision to parcel out to various committees the responsibility for crafting bills designed to kill the bill through a thousand cuts.
The committee reported out such legislation in February with H.R. 5, the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-Cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011. The legislation imposes a $250,000 cap on subjective, noneconomic damages; a collateral source rule reform allowing evidence of outside payments to be made in court; a ban on subrogation by collateral sources; a fee schedule for attorney contingency fees; and periodic payments of future damages.
Final action on the bill was delayed for several weeks in February because both Democrats and conservative Republicans voiced objections to the legislation based on concerns it would impinge on state’s rights. The panel ultimately decided to report the bill to the House floor as written, and let the battle over the state’s rights issue be waged there. But, it didn’t happen.