Press Release

Embargoed Until Contact

February 23, 2011
7:01 PM EST

Sue Ducat
Director of Communications
(301) 841-9962


Congress and the Affordable Care Act


Bethesda, MD --A new Health Policy Brief from Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examines the current congressional fight over derailing implementation of the Affordable Care Act. On January 19, 2011, the Republican-dominated House of Representatives voted to repeal the law, and later passed a resolution instructing four major committees to draft legislation to replace it.  The Senate did not pass a comparable repeal provision, and as a result, the House bill is unlikely to reach the president’s desk for an expected veto.
Nonetheless, opponents of the Affordable Care Act continue to seek ways to block all or part of the law from taking effect. Among possibilities that the brief discusses are the following:


  • Repealing specific provisions, such as

--the planned individual mandate that will require  most Americans to secure health insurance by 2014.

--the prohibition on states to reduce Medicaid eligibility; the expansion of Medicaid would include an estimated 16 million individuals who are now without health coverage

--the CLASS (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports) Act, which would provide support for long-term care services

--new boards and institutes, including  the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute

  • Blocking regulations aimed at carrying out provisions of the law.

  • Holding oversight hearings to expose perceived flaws in the law.


  • Blocking funding for various federal entities to implement the law.


Many of these efforts will be linked to the process of drafting federal budgets for fiscal 2011 and 2012 —a highly uncertain process at best. It’s possible that following much dissension and disagreement, some aspects of the Affordable Care Act will be altered and some implementation funding will be changed. And these same fights are likely to recur next year, in the run-up to national elections in November 2012. 

About Health Affairs

Health Affairs, published by Project HOPE, is the leading journal of health policy. The peer-reviewed journal appears each month in print, with additional Web First papers published weekly at You can also find the journal on Facebook and Twitter and download Narrative Matters on iTunes. Address inquiries to Sue Ducat at (301) 841-9962 or