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The House GOP knows that while they have enough members to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act this week, the effort dies in the Senate. Even if it could get through the Senate, it would be vetoed by President Obama. So they're working on individual pieces to chip away at the provisions of the bill, including a critical one that went into effect January 1: requiring that insurers spend at least 80 percent of the premium dollars they take in on actual health services, rather than overhead or profits.

Republican Conference Secretary John Carter (R-Texas) is trying to build momentum for a Congressional Review Act (CRA) challenge to a recent regulation that requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of their premium dollars (85 percent in the large group market) on healthcare services....

Carter used the annual Republican retreat this past weekend to try to generate support for a CRA challenge to the so-called medical loss ratio (MLR) requirements for insurers, spokesman John Stone told The Hill.

On Wednesday, Carter reintroduced a resolution disapproving of the MLR requirements, which were published in November. The requirements aligned closely with recommendations made by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners....

“By pledging to repeal health reform, House Republicans would eliminate this important protection and allow insurance companies to continue unlimited spending on CEO bonuses, profits and lobbying — and less on patients’ health care,” said Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) in November after the MLR regulations were issued.

Remember the CRA? David wrote about it last fall:
Well, the Congressional Review Act basically puts these resolutions of disapproval -- essentially legislative vetoes of proposed executive agency administrative rules -- on a fast track that can't be blocked or filibustered. So there's really no way to stop them except to either defeat the motion to proceed and/or the resolution itself.

Oh, P.S., resolutions of disapproval are Joint Resolutions, which means they go to the President for signature. Or veto.

This one in particular would do just what Rep. Stark says it would--protect insurance company profits rather than patients. Procedurally, we'll probably be seeing a lot of the CRA over the coming months, on the issue of health reform and financial reform, as the GOP House works on dismantling the last two years of work.

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Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 09:20 AM PST.

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