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House ACA Repeal Vote Gets Muted Response from Healthcare Lobbyists

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 21, 2011

The major healthcare sector lobbying groups that played a role in crafting and helping pass the landmark healthcare reform law last year offered a muted response to Wednesday's Republican-led effort to repeal the law in the House.

The House repeal, which passed 245-189 on a largely partisan vote, is seen as a symbolic gesture from Republicans who made repealing the law a centerpiece of November 2010 elections that brought them into the majority. However, Democrats still control the Senate and they won't consider the bill; President Obama has vowed to veto any repeal bill that hits his desk.

In fact, by midday Thursday, the repeal vote was all but forgotten and House Republicans moved on to pass a resolution 253-175 – again largely on partisan lines – ordering four committees to create alternatives to the Accountable Care Act.

So, with little to gain by issuing public opinions on the divisive and controversial vote, and with lawmakers still considering major changes to the existing healthcare legislation, healthcare lobbyists said little, if anything, and prepared for the next battle.

The American Hospital Association, for example, declined to comment on the repeal vote.

American Medical Association President Cecil B. Wilson offered perhaps the firmest defense of the law when he said in a statement: "The AMA does not support repeal of the Affordable Care Act because it includes expanded health coverage, insurance market reforms and initiatives to promote wellness, which are in line with AMA policy objectives."

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