Republicans vow to repeal health care law

SOURCE: Speaker.gov

ANALYSIS: 

Blindsided by the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are vowing to repeal the health care reform law at all costs. 

Read more: Supreme Court upholds health care law, affirms coverage mandate

“There’s only one way to truly fix Obamacare – one way and that’s a full repeal – a full repeal,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky). “The court’s ruling doesn’t mark the end of the debate. It marks a fresh start on the road to repeal.”

GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has announced that a vote to gut the law is scheduled for the week of July 9th.

Congressional Democrats denounced the GOP’s move, accusing Republicans of acting as the “handmaidens of the special interests”.

“Are they going to have a vote to say that your child that has a pre-existing medical condition and no longer can be discriminated against we’re going to overturn that? If you’re a senior and you’re paying less for your prescription drugs and you’re getting free preventive check-ups and the rest, we’re going to overturn that? If you’re 26 years old and under and you’re on your parents’ policy, pull the plug on that as well?” asked Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “They fight for the health insurance industry over and over again at the cost to the taxpayer and consumers.”

Since the court’s ruling was issued on Thursday, Republicans have focused their attacks on the Affordable Care Act’s tax penalty to enforce the individual coverage mandate, the $500 billion Medicare savings, and the fear that employers would drop health coverage for workers.

While the Republicans appear united in their quest to repeal the law, they are considerably less decisive – and even vague – about the so-called “real” and “common sense” health care reforms that they would put in its place.

For example, after declaring that he would repeal the health care law on his first day as President, Republican contender Mitt Romney merely echoed two key provisions of the law as his proposals to replace the Affordable Care Act.

One, Romney said, is to “make sure those people who have pre-existing conditions know that they will be able to be insured and they will not lose their insurance” and, second, to “do our very best to help each states in their efforts to assure that every American has access to affordable health care.

Both Romney’s proposals are essentially what the Affordable Care Act seeks to achieve by requiring the guaranteed issue, community rating, and individual coverage mandate as well as establishing state-level insurance marketplaces (known as “exchanges”) to increase competition and lower insurance rates.

The similarities aren’t all that surprising given that Romney was the chief architect behind Massachusetts’ health care reform law after which the Affordable Care Act was modeled.

Just like the Affordable Care Act, the Massachusetts health care law required insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions. To ensure that insurance companies are not saddled with only the very old and the very sick – an effect known as “adverse selection” – the Massachusetts law imposed an “individual responsibility principle” to compel all individuals to obtain health coverage or pay tax penalties.

“In regards to the mandate – the individual responsibility program, which I proposed – I was very, very pleased to see that the compromise from the two houses includes the personal responsibility principle. That is essential for bringing health care costs down for everyone, and getting the health insurance they deserve and need,” said Romney at a press conference in 2006.

Romney even continued to defend his support of the individual mandate during the Republican primary. Appearing on CNN’s Larry King Show, Romney said, “Right now, in this country, people that don’t have health insurance go to the hospital if they get a serious illness and they get treated for free by government. My plan says no they can’t do that. No more free-riders. People have to take personal responsibility.”

Pelosi pointed out that Romney will be confronted with the same “adverse selection” problem in any reform that requires insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions.

“Maybe he’s going to pay for it out of his own pocket…to cover the pre-existing condition costs of people…? You cannot have it both ways,” said Pelosi.

 

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22 Comments on “Republicans vow to repeal health care law

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