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POLITICS: PennAve

House vote on Obamacare alternative coming this year, majority leader says

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Congress,Obamacare,House of Representatives,Health Care,PennAve,Joseph Lawler,Economy,Eric Cantor

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Sunday that the House will vote on a bill to replace Obamacare this year, which would be a major development for the Republican Party that has not clearly spelled out its alternative to the law that passed in 2010.

Appearing on CBS' Sunday morning talk show, Cantor said "I believe firmly we will have a vote on an alternative for a healthcare system that works for people."

"We will have it this year," Cantor added.

The law is a "disaster," and on "borrowed time," said the Virginia Republican, citing canceled policies, rising prices, and reduced access to doctors and hospitals.

Last week, three GOP senators -- Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and Orrin Hatch of Utah -- introduced an outline for an alternative to Obamacare that would not include any of the law's existing mandates or government-run exchanges. Cantor did not specify if House Republicans would use that proposal as a blueprint, instead saying only that elements of a 2009 GOP plan would guide the effort. Republicans on the Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Workforce Committees are working on health care alternatives, Cantor said.

Cantor noted that the health care law will likely be a major factor in this year's midterm elections. "I don't think there's any question that Obamacare's gonna play pretty prominently this year,” he said.

Republicans made opposition to the health care law a central focus of the 2010 midterms, in which they won back the House in a wave election. But they did so without having offered a replacement plan, and did not vote on a comprehensive replacement after gaining the majority, despite voting numerous times to undo various parts of the law.

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