Republicans Want to Repeal Your Healthcare

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A Republican Party attempt to repeal health reform would put as many as 129 million Americans in jeopardy of being denied health insurance coverage, says a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services. Provisions of the law that protect millions of people from discrimination by insurance companies due to preexisting conditions would be eliminated if a Republican Party attempt to repeal the law is successful.

“The Affordable Care Act is stopping insurance companies from discriminating against Americans with pre-existing conditions and is giving us all more freedom and control over our health care decisions,” said Secretary Sebelius this week. “Americans living with pre-existing conditions are being freed from discrimination in order to get the health coverage they need.”

The Republican plan to repeal would also hurt small businesses seeking to provide insurance for their employees, Small Business Administration head Karen Mills told reporters Tuesday Jan. 18.

Because of the health reform, the number of small businesses providing coverage today has actually grown after years of steady decline, Mills said. New tax credits for small businesses that provide coverage are driving higher sign-up rates. Some 4 million small businesses are eligible.

By 2014, a tax credit for 50 percent of health insurance premiums along with health insurance exchanges will further reduce costs for small businesses and make provision of coverage for their employees simpler.

As small business owners are learning more about the law and counting the savings are made available in the reform law, they are increasingly vocal supporters of keeping the health reform law on books, Mills said.

"If repeal succeeds," added Dr. Rebecca Blank, Acting Deputy Secretary, Department of Commerce, "insurance companies would once again be free to deny, limit, or cap coverage (to millions with preexisting coverage)."

Without the law, small business owners could expect the cost of coverage to grow by 166 percent by the end of the decade, according to independent studies, she said.

Provisions that have and will continue to help seniors pay for prescription drugs would also end if the Republican Party's repeal succeeds.

She noted that recent studies of the health reform law's economic impact reveal that a successful Republican repeal would mean 250,000 to 400,000 fewer jobs would be created each year over the next decade.

In addition, Congressional Budget Office data showed that the Republican bill would cost taxpayers an additional $230 billion in the first decade and more than $1 trillion in the next, Dr. Blank said.

She also pointed out that most stakeholders in the healthcare sector are not siding with the Republicans on repeal.

To try to pass their repeal and please their Tea Party base, House Republican leaders plan to ignore their own rules that forbid passing new laws that add to the deficit. Ironically, it was the Tea Party movement that pressed the Republicans to claim they would try to balance the budget.

Responses to repeal threat

House Democratic leaders predicted the repeal effort would fail and that it was little more than a "symbolic" vote. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., told reporters, "Every minute they waste on this symbolic vote could be better spent working with us to find ways to create jobs for Americans and continue the recent economic growth."

The Republican repeal threat also earned sharp responses from healthcare advocates, doctors, women's groups, veterans, and the labor movement.

In an e-mail to supporters, rejected the Republican repeal plan. The health reform law means a lot to veterans who see their VA benefits expire, it said. "To repeal it would mean that unemployed veterans – the rate of which is 10 percent, and 21 percent among young Iraq and Afghanistan veterans – will lose the access to health care that this law will soon provide," the e-mail pointed out.

"Don’t let the House Majority get away with framing this debate as anything other than what it is – a desire to return to the old status quo, which helped insurance companies, and hurt America’s veterans and working families," the veterans group explained.

Earlier this month thousands of doctors and medical students signed a petition to Republican Party leaders in Congress calling on them to set aside their plan to try to repeal the health reform law.

“As doctors, we see how our broken health care system is failing patients and health care providers.” said Dr. Vivek Murthy, president of Doctors for America. “Repealing the health care reform law will only move our health care system backward – and millions of patients simply can’t afford that. We urge the new Congress to work with patients and providers to improve the health reform law so we can build a health care system that works for everyone.”

In a statement, Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of American, added, “If House leaders win this vote, American women will lose."

"More women will be uninsured, discrimination will be legal again, and women will once again be forced to pay more for health care and get less for their health care dollars than do men. We cannot go back to the old status quo,” she said.

In its campaign to block the Republican repeal, the AFL-CIO collected stories from working families about how the health reform law has benefited them already. One woman reported:

My brother has a form of metastatic cancer. With medication he may live for years, but will likely always need treatment—unless by some miracle a cure is discovered soon! But, in a sense, the new health care law has already worked one miracle for him and many other cancer patients by doing away with annual and lifetime limits. This change will ensure my brother never need fear being told that his coverage has ended because he has reached their lifetime limit. Find many more stories here.

Small business owner John Kateel, who owns a promotional products company in Salt Lake City, Utah, said that tax credits under the law have allowed him to provide a benefits package that will help him retain good employees and to eliminate uncertainty for planning for his future. "Health reform is going to allow me to forecast health care into my budget," he explained. "It has helped me create jobs and has allowed me to be more competitive."

In releasing a new TV ad against the GOP repeal, Tom McMahon, executive director of Americans United for Change, said, "Make no mistake: a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act is a vote to put big insurance back in charge so they can go right back maximizing profits by dropping people when they get sick and need coverage the most, imposing lifetime caps in coverage, and denying coverage to sick kids because they happened to be born with a medical problem or disability."

"It's a vote to let insurance companies go back to raising premiums four times faster than wages without consequence," he added. "A vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act is a vote to deny American families the same kind of health protections members of Congress enjoy and would still enjoy if the misguided Republican effort is successful.”

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  • Having dealt with medical malpractice law and cases involving health insurance companies, I think that the Obamacare should be passed on so that more and more Americans are going to get insurance coverage for their pre-existing conditions. It is expected that big insurance companies will not be happy with this development, but it is hightime that something should be done. I am sure that there are guidelines and regulations in place to ensure that these companies remain at a profit and risk bankruptcy and loss of jobs for those who are employed under them.

    Posted by Mitchell Sexner, 09/04/2013 3:14am (10 years ago)

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