Political Notes – Congress votes again to repeal ACA, Obama will veto

[private]Republican members of the U.S. House, who have voted more than 60 times to pass legislation that would repeal all or parts of Obamacare, voted again Wednesday to roll back the health insurance program.

Unlike the earlier House votes, this particular measure (HR 3762) will actually make it to President Barack Obama’s desk. HR 3762 has already passed the Senate, where a budget conciliation procedure was used to bypass a filibuster by Democrats.

In the end, the result is expected to be the same. Obama has said numerous times he will veto any bills that repeal the Affordable Care Act and there doesn’t appear to be a two-thirds majority in either chamber that would override a veto – the House vote for passage was 240-181.

Nevertheless, Georgia Republicans boasted that they were getting closer to their goal of dismantling Obamacare.

“The House has passed a bill to gut the foundation of Obamacare: its funding,” said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Sharpsburg). “Without the revenue and funding, Obamacare doesn’t stand a chance. It’s the most significant repeal package since the disastrous healthcare bill was signed into law five years ago.”

“Passage of this legislation is a landmark accomplishment, because for the first time the president is going to be faced with a repeal of his own disastrous health care law,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville).

“Removing this misguided legislation by its roots is the first step, and H.R. 3762 accomplishes the goal while paving the way for long-term solutions that offer accessibility without a government mandate, lower costs through common sense incentives for health care providers, and individual choice in the marketplace,” said Rep. Rob Woodall, a Gwinnett County Republican.

Even as the congressmen denounced the Affordable Care Act, it appeared that a record number of Georgians would sign up for healthcare coverage through the ACA’s health insurance exchange.

Georgia’s enrollees totaled 511,826 as of Dec. 26, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the state could potentially exceed the 540,000 enrollees for 2015 by the enrollment deadline in January.

Georgia’s Republican House members voted for the ACA repeal measure while the Democratic members voted against it.

Peake readies cannabis cultivation bill

State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) released the details Wednesday of the bill he’ll introduce next week (HB 722) to authorize the in-state cultivation of marijuana to produce cannabis oil for medical treatment purposes. The bill would provide for a minimum of two and a maximum of six cultivation sites by Dec. 1, 2016.

Peake will be going up against Gov. Nathan Deal on this issue. Deal recently came out against legalized cultivation because of what he saw as law enforcement problems.

“I think this legislation is the obvious next step to help hurting Georgians who need access to this medicine here at home,” Peake said. “The cultivation, production and distribution model outlined in HB 722 is designed after the model currently in place in Minnesota, which is the most tightly regulated infrastructure in the country.”

On a related issue, Sen. Harold Jones II (D-Augusta) said he’ll sponsor a bill that would make marijuana possession a misdemeanor offense rather than a felony.

“In no way would my bill legalize the possession or selling of narcotics,” Jones said. “It would eliminate the draconian penalties that accompany a felony arrest and conviction. From having your voting rights suspended to losing eligibility for federal and state benefits, like food assistance, the cost of regulating marijuana as a felony outweighs the negligible benefits.”

Memorial to student nurses

State Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) will host a memorial ceremony at the capitol Monday for the five student nurses from Georgia Southern University who were tragically killed in a car accident last April. It is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on the south wing steps.

Unterman, Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Sharon Radzyminski, chair of Georgia Southern’s school of nursing, will speak at the ceremony.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: ACA , Allen Peake , Barack Obama , Harold Jones , medical cannabis , Obamacare , Renee Unterman