The first week of 2011 ushers in the 112th Congress, with a new Republican majority in the House led by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Push for 'repeal and replace' continues
House GOP members vow immediately to “repeal and replace” the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010. Excitement on Capitol Hill in the first week of the new year soon turns to tragedy when a shooting spree outside a grocery store in Tucson, Ariz., leaves Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in critical condition and six others dead.
House GOP members change their tone slightly, referring to the Affordable Care Act as a “job-destroying” rather than a “job-killing” bill, but they are no less committed to their goal of abolishing the law. And they soon make good on their promise, as the lower chamber votes 245-189 to repeal the reform act with help from all 242 House Republicans and three Democrats. With no chance of passing in the Senate, the repeal bill is seen largely as a symbolic move. Still, Republicans continue to chip away at the law throughout all of 2011, even as the Obama administration and HHS stay the course, releasing regulations and announcing programs that the law established.
- Long delayed, the proposed rule for accountable care organizations is released on the last day of March and is met with much skepticism by healthcare providers, as the 429-page regulation promises more federal scrutiny, a host of clinical quality measures to achieve and downside risk for participants in the program.
- In April, House GOP members are successful in overturning a piece of the Affordable Care Act when Obama signs a law repealing the contentious 1099 provision that would have required businesses starting in 2012 to report information to the Internal Revenue Service on payments of goods totaling $600 or more.
- In May, HHS announces the “Pioneer ACO” program to help ready-made ACOs enter the Medicare program quickly and have other providers follow.
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