Democrats have put a section related to Affordable Care Act litigation in their proposed House Rules document for the 116th Congress.
Democrats will control at least 235 of the 435 seats in the House when the 116th Congress opens for business Thursday.
When the House majority adopts a set of rules for a congress, the rules document helps frame how the House operates during the two-year period when that congress is Washington.
In the new draft rules document, for example, House Democrats have proposed that former House members who are now registered lobbyists should stay out of the House gym; that the House Committee on Education and the Workforce should return to calling itself the House Committee on Education and Labor; and that a bill or resolution will need at least 290 cosponsors before House leaders will put the measure on the “Consensus Calendar,” or list of measures that can pass with a quick voice vote.
Title III in the draft rules document would cover how the House handles the Texas v. United States litigation, and other litigation related to the Affordable Care Act.
Republicans were in control of the House from 2010 through 2018.
House Republicans have filed one major federal lawsuit in opposition to Affordable Care Act subsidy spending.
House Republicans have also supported ACA opponents in other anti-ACA litigation, including Republican state officials’ effort to have a major part of the ACA, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), nullified through the Texas v. United States suit.
Title III of Democrats’ proposed House Rules document for the 116th Congress would authorize the House speaker to intervene in ACA-related litigation.
The House speaker could take steps to protect the institutional interests of the House, and to defend the ACA and ACA-related amendments to other laws, “including the provisions ensuring affordable health coverage for those with preexisting conditions,” according to the proposal text.
The Office of General Counsel of the House would represent the House in any such litigation, and that office could bring in outside experts and outside lawyers, including unpaid outside lawyers, to help it.
The House Administration Committee would have to give quarterly reports on spending on the outside lawyers and experts used in ACA-related litigation.
Here are three other health and benefits matters observers are watching as the 116th Congress prepares for its debut.
1. Medicare for All
In 2018, the main health policy conflict in the House was between Republicans who wanted to kill the Affordable Care Act-based health care finance system and the Democrats and moderate Republicans who wanted to shore up the ACA-based system.
This year, the main conflict in the House could be between Republicans and moderate Democrats who want to shore up the ACA-based system, and Democrats who want to replace the ACA-based system with a government-run health care finance system.