Make my day on health care reform

As you no doubt know, the Republican majority entering the House this week has indicated that they would do everything in their power to nullify Obama’s landmark health care reform bill. As Eugene Robinson points out on todays’s Washington Post, however, doing so is much easier said than done. Here’s a clip:

If the incoming Republican leadership in the House of Representatives is serious about trying to repeal health-care reform, there’s only one appropriate Democratic response: “Make my day.”

Just to be clear, there’s no earthly chance that a bill repealing the landmark health-care overhaul could make it through Congress and be signed into law. Even if Republicans managed to hold together their new majority in the House, they would face the inconvenient fact that Democrats still control the Senate. And even if a repeal measure somehow sneaked through the Senate, President Obama would veto the thing faster than you can say “preexisting conditions.”

So this exercise in tilting at windmills can’t even be described as quixotic, since that would imply some expectation of success, however delusional. The whole thing is purely theatrical – and woefully ill-advised.

Yet Republicans promise to stage a vote on repeal before Obama delivers his State of the Union address, expected late this month. “If we pass this bill with a sizable vote, and I think that we will, it will put enormous pressure on the Senate to do perhaps the same thing,” Rep. Fred Upton, who will be chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “But then, after that, we’re going to go after this bill piece by piece.”

This sounds fine, until you actually look at the pieces. Already in effect are parts of the reform package that no self-interested politician is going to vote to take away.

No child can be denied insurance coverage because of a preexisting condition. Coverage can no longer be canceled when the policyholder gets sick. Insurance companies can no longer impose annual or lifetime limits on payments for care. Adult children can remain on their parents’ policies until they turn 26. Policyholders cannot be charged extra for seeking urgent care at an emergency room that is not in the insurance company’s approved network of providers.

Those measures took effect in September. Another set of provisions became law on Saturday: requirements that insurance companies spend a certain percentage of the premiums they collect on care; a discount on prescription drugs for some seniors covered by Medicare; a rule that gives seniors free screening for cancer and other diseases.

Republican leaders aren’t dumb enough to explicitly propose taking all these benefits away. But Democrats can, and should, force them to have that debate…

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  1. dragon
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Obamacare, Oh Yeah, Obamacare, (dipping my white bread into milk)…Repeal, Repeal, fucking Repeal. Oh God Yeah!!

  2. Pudrick
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    Hell, I got a few dozen people on my block who would like to nullify my health. Most of them with Elvis bottoms and Tom Selleck tops. To take it from the horses mouth, “Easier said than done.” Two words: deep freeze. One more Word to the Wise: cover your crotches.

  3. Posted January 5, 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Yes, Mark, Republicans are dumb enough.

  4. Edward
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I hope the Republicans tear the health care bill to shreds so that we can come back with a really meaningful version that includes a public option. I think, by now, people are ready for it.

  5. T Timmons
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Rep. Anthony Weiner:

    “Republicans are against a lot of things, but they are for kicking young Americans off their parents’ insurance plans, for reinstating copayments for preventive measures like cancer screenings, and for denying children coverage based on preexisting conditions.”

    We need to expose these assholes.

  6. Posted January 5, 2011 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Not only are Republicans dumb enough to try, but Democrats are wimpy enough that they might well cave.

  7. Mitch Stewart
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Our progress is under attack.

    Their majority is not even a day old, but House Republicans are already getting ready to pass a bill to repeal health reform.

    Instead of focusing on the future, they want to put insurance companies back in charge of our health care. To go back to the days when these companies could deny coverage to children based on pre-existing conditions, cancel coverage when people would get sick, or limit the care you could receive — even when you needed more. When seniors would be forced to choose between paying their mortgage and paying for their prescription drugs, simply because they landed in the “donut hole” in coverage.

    They want to turn our progress into a partisan fight.

    But you and I know that the Affordable Care Act and other reforms to protect consumers did not pass because of a partisan or ideological agenda.

    They passed because millions of Americans stood up and said we were ready for commonsense solutions after years of fraud and abuse, for a new era of responsibility after unchecked power. They passed because, after 100 years of debate and negotiation, we said we would wait no longer for health reform.

    These reforms passed because of you. Now, we must prepare to stand up for them again.

    Organizing for America is pulling together a team of organizers and volunteers to defend reform — and we need you on this team. Together, we’ll show how our progress is already improving lives across the country — and take on those who are pushing for repeal.

    It’s clear that’s not where House Republicans are looking — they’re putting the car in reverse and heading straight toward the ditch that we just spent two years climbing out of.

    As the President said this week, we are still emerging from a recession that took a toll on millions of families, many of whom are still trying to get their lives back on track. The Affordable Care Act and Wall Street reform were important steps forward on the road to recovery, and we can’t afford to play political games with them now.

    We have an obligation to ensure our progress is not rewritten by the insurance industry and big banks.

    This year, we’ll need to stand by the President as he works to grow our economy, make the United States more competitive, and keep moving the country forward — but we’re also going to have to work hard to defend what we have already achieved.

    Join the campaign to protect our progress:



    Mitch Stewart
    Organizing for America

  8. Glen S.
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Dear “Mitch,”

    The insurance companies were in charge of our health care before the “reform,” and they’re still in charge (if not more so) now. While the new system includes some worthwhile reforms (mandatory coverage for children with pre-existing conditions, no annual or lifetime “caps,” etc.), it also lacks la public (government) option to help keep insurance companies honest — and to provide coverage of last resort for the poorest and most vulnerable. That, coupled with the “mandate” that requires the uninsured to purchase coverage from private corporations, means that this “reform” amounts to little more than another scheme to transfer wealth from the poor, working and middle class to the super-rich.

    What we really need (and what a majority of the American public supports) is a strong single-payer system — just like every other civilized democracy. Short of that, we should at least provide a strong public option — perhaps by making Medicare available (at cost) to those under age 65.

    In the mean time, please spare us the OFA/Obama/DNC/Republican posturing that claims to champion poor, working and middle-class Americans — but really represents the interests powerful corporate lobbyists.

  9. Bob
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if the self-centered “repeal” Republicans ever had something happen to them like happened to a “fully insured” friend of mine.

    His wife had a condition where every other year she had to have serious brain surgey to remove lesions that were threatening her life. These were very, very costly operations and he was looking at running into a maximum coverage limit on her, where insurance companies could say “you used up your $500,000 limit – we will not pay for any more surgery”. Here he was, with health insurance, working full time, yet he was contemplating having to declare bancruptcy and use that as an argument to try and have a public hospital to do more operations and pay for them them out of pocket through a bancruptcy proceeding.

    Sadly, his wife died from a massive stroke after one of the operations, but probably the insurance company was happy as one of the “surplus population” as Scrooge would say, was off their policy.

    But that was not the end of the story. My friends daughter also inherited the same conditon as her mother and now was going to the U of M. But as she reached the age were she fell off her fathers insurance coverage (I believe it was 21), she was having problems finding coverage as now she had a “pre-existing condition”. Luckily, the problem was mitigated when the National Institute of Health started a long-term study of the condition the daughter has and enrolled her in a care-study program which deals with this condition. Lucky for her, she has only a fraction of the problems her mother had.

    Under the health insurance laws right now, none of the situations described above would be legal.

    To be blunt, the Republicans wanting to repeal health care laws are total assholes. But oh no, they don’t want to repeal their own Congressional healthcare plan. Not at all. So for these Republican “repeal” assholes, they are saying to the Ameican people “FUCK YOU. I have my health care, but you can go fuck yourself.

  10. Lorne Marr
    Posted January 6, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    The new Republican majority has started the fight against consumers which will have disastrous consequences for millions of American families. How come they want to deny insurance coverage to children who have already had a medical condition?

  11. Meta
    Posted January 7, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) came out today saying that a repeal of Obamacare would add $320 billion to the deficit over the next decade, leaving 32 million Americans without insurance.

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