The GOP Health Care Posturing Continues
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Two weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 245-189 to repeal the nation's year-old health care reform law. The defeat was a pillar of the GOP campaign that swept them into power in the House this past November. Not surprisingly, the voting results were primarily along partisan lines, as are the various judicial rulings on the Affordable Care Act.
The Republicans, throughout election season and beyond, have maintained that, in the words of Florida Rep. Sandy Adams, "The American people have soundly, soundly rejected the Democrats' government takeover of health care."
However, according to the Washington Post, “Some 45 percent of those polled support the law, and 50 percent oppose it, numbers that exactly match their averages in Post-ABC polls going back to August 2009.”
What those numbers don't reflect are the 13 percent who feel the bill doesn't go far enough in terms of reform. They are lumped into the opposition column, despite the fact that they actually favor reform. If those adjustments were made, polls would show that 58 percent support the overhaul with only 37 percent being against it. That number lines up with the 37 percent who also support repealing any or all of the original legislation.
Other statistical discrepancies also abound. Rep. Steve Southerland, also of Florida, is convinced that the so-called Obamacare bill means that "1.6 million jobs will be lost by 2014 due to this mandate." In fact, the bill that passed the House last night was titled "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act."
Southerland's talking point is based on a study done by the National Federation of Independent Business in early 2009 prior to the actually drafting of Obama's health care reform bill. Even the organization is distancing itself from that job-killing estimation: "It's old. We don't use it anymore because it was based on a hypothetical mandate," NFIB spokeswoman Stephanie Cathcart said.
Most analysts agree that the reform package will have little to no effect on jobs. If anything, some of them cite the wave of new hires at insurance companies and health care providers to help handle the influx of newly covered patients. Since the Affordable Care Act, some 200,000 jobs have been created within the health care industry.
When it comes to the deficit – another big GOP concern – repealing the reform bill would actually increase the deficit by roughly $230 billion over the next decade, according to a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
Conversely, the CBO found that the original legislation would reduce the deficit by $143 billion by 2019. In the second decade of its implementation – 2020 to 2029 – it will reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion.
According to the Washington Post, Speaker of the House John Boehner's “repeal and replace” tactic demands that they reach into the GOP's “cupboard of health-care ideas, most going back a decade or more. They include tax credits to help Americans afford insurance, limiting awards in medical malpractice lawsuits and unfettering consumers from rules that require them to buy state-regulated insurance policies. In broad strokes, the approach favors the health-care marketplace over government programs and rules.”
Because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has pledged to not bring the measure up in his chamber of Congress and President Barack Obama has vowed to veto any repeal legislation that makes it as far as his desk, all of the back-and-forth may merely add up to an exercise in political posturing.
Check out Rep. Anthony Weiner and Ezra Klein on MSNBC last night discussing what the latest round of judicial activism means.
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