GOP boycotts health care advisory board
WASHINGTON - The battle over President Barack Obama's health care law continues to play out today -- with congressional Republicans saying they won't nominate candidates for an advisory board that's supposed to play a role in holding down Medicare costs.
The board would have the power to force payment cuts on insurers, drug companies and other service providers if Medicare costs go above certain levels. And the Republicans say the reduced payments will "force providers to stop seeing Medicare patients."
The health care law explicitly forbids the board from either rationing care, shifting costs to seniors or cutting their benefits. But Republicans have insisted that it will be a vehicle to deny care to seniors.
Economists have predicted that the board's services might not even be needed in the near future because Medicare cost increases appear manageable.
House Speaker John Boehner is also serving notice that the House will vote again next week to repeal the health care act. Democrats say the House has tried some 36 times already to repeal or defund all or part of the law. Each time, the Democratic-controlled Senate ignores that vote.
White House spokesman Jay Carney says Americans are "tired of efforts by Republicans to refight the political battles of the past."