The Obama administration will not be the last presidency to tackle healthcare reform, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) predicted during a forum sponsored by the Atlantic
Lawmakers will be watching to see how the new reform law unfolds, if the health insurance exchanges are covering more people and if the country moves away from employer-based coverage. The new statute “could be modified in the future after we know how it works,” Waxman said.
Drug prices, specifically changes to the outpatient 340B drug discount program, may be addressed in a separate bill in the future, “but we're not there yet,” he later told reporters.
While regretful that Congress didn't achieve a bipartisan bill, Waxman said the Republicans had only one objective in mind during the crafting of this legislation: to repeat what happened in 1994 and kill the reform bill. “Republicans made a political
decision that they didn't want to be part of it.”
Asked if the new law had a less sturdy foundation than other laws that enjoyed bipartisan support, Waxman responded there “is no way in the world” Republicans would be able to repeal it and replace it with something else.
If they did, they would be taking away the tax breaks available to small businesses to provide insurance to their employees and more coverage opportunities under the insurance exchanges, not to mention protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions against discriminatory insurance industry practices, he said.
Under the pay-as-you-go rules, Republicans would also have to “come up with a lot of money to replace the provisions in this bill that have brought in revenues or will be holding down costs,” Waxman said.