House bill targets health law, Planned Parenthood funds

Steve Scalise
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La., center, leaves the House chamber on Capitol Hill, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, after a divided House voted to block Planned Parenthood's federal funds for a year, as Republican leaders labored to keep GOP outrage over abortion from spiraling into an impasse with President Barack Obama that could shut down the government. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Budget Committee approved Republican legislation Friday that would scuttle President Barack Obama’s health care law and block federal payments to Planned Parenthood.

The measure is the latest of many GOP measures that have been aimed at both targets but that Democrats have managed to derail in the Senate.

This time, Republicans are using a special process that would prevent Democratic senators from using filibusters, or procedural delays, to kill the measure. That means there’s a strong chance the legislation will reach Obama — who would be certain to veto it.

Republicans are aware of the bill’s ultimate fate but are pushing it anyway as a way to highlight their views to conservatives ahead of next year’s presidential and congressional elections.

The committee approved the bill by a party-line 21-11 vote.

The Congressional Budget Office, Congress’ official fiscal analyst, says the bill would save $79 billion over the next decade. The measure would also mean that millions of fewer people would have health care coverage, the office said.

The legislation would repeal the law’s requirements that individuals buy health insurance and that many employers provide it to workers. It would also end the law’s taxes on medical devices and on high-cost health insurance plans.

Most of the bill’s savings would come from reduced federal costs because with fewer Americans insured, the government would spend less to subsidize lower-income people’s medical costs.

Republicans have tried cutting Planned Parenthood’s federal funds for years. Their efforts accelerated this summer because of secretly recorded videos showing the group’s officials describing how they sometimes harvest fetal tissue for research.

Planned Parenthood gets roughly a third of its $1.3 billion annual budget from the federal government, chiefly Medicaid reimbursements for seeing lower-income women.

The bill would transfer Planned Parenthood’s federal money to community health centers.

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