US healthcare bill faces repeal

House Republicans plan to use their midterm election gains to reverse the reform, but the senate is likely to block it.

    The healthcare bill has been one of Obama's signature legislative victories [GALLO/GETTY]

    Republicans in the US House of Representatives plan to pass a bill next week to repeal President Barack Obama's overhaul of the country's healthcare system, according to a senior party member.

    The new Congress will convene on Wednesday with Republicans in control of the House after November's midterm elections.

    They are set to move ahead with their campaign promise to try to revoke the new healthcare law.

    Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for incoming House Republican leader Eric Cantor, said the House plans to vote on legislation to repeal the healthcare law on January 12.

    "It will pass the House," Dayspring said. But the effort is widely expected to fail in the Senate.

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    Although Republicans will control the House, 242-193, Obama's Democrats retain control of the Senate by 53-47 and are likely to block any repeal of the healthcare law.

    "Obamacare is a job killer for businesses small and large, and the top priority for House Republicans is going to be to cut spending and grow the economy and jobs," Dayspring said.

    Republicans, particularly from the fiscally conservative wing, gained the confidence to tackle the healthcare reform after a good showing in November's elections.

    Democrats warn

    Senate Democratic leaders warned against repealing a healthcare provision that closes a coverage gap in the Medicare prescription drug program for seniors.

    "If House Republicans move forward with a repeal of the healthcare law that threatens consumer benefits, we will block it in the Senate," the Democrats wrote in a letter to John Boehner, the incoming House Speaker .

    "Taking this benefit away from seniors would be irresponsible and reckless at a time when it is becoming harder and harder for seniors to afford a healthy retirement," the Senate Democratic leaders wrote.

    Among other provisions, the healthcare reform extends healthcare insurance to millions of Americans without coverage, but opinion polls show voters are split over it.

    Healthcare reform bill

    Requires most Americans to have medical insurance

    Bars denial of coverage due to a medical history

    Prevents higher premiums due to health status or gender

    Extends coverage to 15 million low income workers

    The reform has become a favourite target for Republicans who say it is an excessive reach by the federal government.

    Even if repeal fails, Republicans will gain considerable control over government spending.

    They will then try to use that power to block the Obama administration's requests on financing to implement the new healthcare law.

    Dayspring said the House will hold a procedural vote on Friday in preparation for the January 12 vote.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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