HEALTH CARE REPEAL REALLY IS A BAD IDEA…. House Republicans did the right thing in the wake of the Tucson shootings, delaying floor action on their push to repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act. GOP leaders will renew their efforts this week, with a floor vote expected on Tuesday.
The “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” — yes, that’s actually the real-life, ridiculous name Republicans gave their legislation — is expected to pass fairly easily given the GOP majority in the chamber, at which point the bill will promptly die. The Senate won’t even take up the bill, but even if it did, and the votes to overcome a filibuster magically appeared, a presidential veto would await the effort.
But putting strategy aside, it’s worth pausing to remember in advance of the debate that the Republican effort is a truly awful idea. The New York Times editorial board had a good piece on this today.
Americans will pay a high price if opponents get their way. Reform means that tens of millions of uninsured people will get a chance at security; and many millions more who have coverage can be sure they can keep or replace it, even if they get sick or lose their jobs.
Repeal would also take away the best chance for reining in rising health care costs — and the government’s relentlessly rising Medicare burden.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that repealing the reform law would drive up the deficit by $230 billion over the first decade and much more in later years.
The vast majority of Americans are not on board with the Republican effort, nor should they be — passing repeal means forcing vulnerable seniors to pay thousands of additional out-of-pocket dollars for their medication, allowing insurers to discriminate against children with pre-existing conditions, raising taxes on small businesses, forcing young people off their family’s insurance plan, and making care more expensive for everyone.
Even the business community that ostensibly backs repeal is making it clear — it doesn’t back repeal.
And what about jobs? Regrettably, Republicans have the story backwards. Steven Pearlstein had a terrific column on this recently.
Ironically, the first order of legislative business in the new Republican House will be to repeal last year’s health-care reform law. Since the immediate impact of the measure will be to allow 30 million more Americans the chance to buy drugs and medical services from doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, it’s hard to imagine a more effective way to reduce employment in the one sector that is actually adding jobs.
The House GOP says it needs to gut America’s health care system in order to create jobs … and were they to succeed, it would cost America jobs.
Indeed, Republicans just have to hope the public isn’t paying any attention to reality at all. Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, the private sector has added 1.1 million jobs. Roughly a fifth of that total — more than 200,000 — were jobs created in the health care industry.
If health care reform is bad for job creation, how did this happen?
And yet, they’ll continue to use inane phrases because, well, it’s easier than thinking. Pearlstein concluded today, “[T]he next time you hear some politician or radio blowhard or corporate hack tossing around the ‘job-killing’ accusation, you can be pretty sure he’s not somebody to be taken seriously. It’s a sign that he disrespects your intelligence, disrespects the truth and disrespects the democratic process. By poisoning the political well and making it difficult for our political system to respond effectively to economic challenges, Republicans may turn out to be the biggest job killers of all.”
Even by Republican standards, this week’s push is a spectacularly bad idea.