House Republicans took one more step today toward repealing last year’s sweeping health care overhaul, as it approved a rule allowing a repeal bill to proceed to a vote.
The vote is purely symbolic because it will never pass the Senate and will never be signed by the President. But since the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says repeal would add another $230 billion to an already overwhelming deficit over the next ten years, it leaves me wondering what this vote is really supposed to symbolize.
I keep coming back to the idea that this bill should be a lot less controversial than it is. When polled about the individual provisions in the bill, majorities of Americans agree with most of them.
The only major provision that’s not popular is the individual mandate that requires people to buy insurance – and we’ve addressed why it should be considered a matter of personal responsibility.
If this vote symbolizes anything, it is the hurtful partisan divide in this country. Many conservatives hate this President, and it’s President Obama – not his legislation, that they really want to repeal. John Boehner’s weak response to birthers is further proof. My view is that they hate health care reform because of who passed it and not because of what it does.
Repealing this legislation would kill many protections desperately needed by millions of Americans, including American entrepreneurs who continue to receive lip service from Republicans. I know – I’m one of those entrepreneurs. Without Minnesota’s high risk pool, a family member’s pre-existing condition would have kept me a permanent-wage slave. Health reform gives ALL individuals access to private health insurance . (Related: Read why we think a federal high-risk pool is not a realistic substitute for the individual mandate.)
In fact, as Rick Unger writes at Forbes, more small businesses are already offering health care to employees as a direct result of “Obamacare.”
The CBO is the entity Congress relies on to score the financial implications of legislation considered by Congress. The Congressional agency is designed to be an impartial referee to take the politics out of the debate. It’s really disheartening to see politicians slam the CBO when its findings don’t conveniently fit into their pre-determined political agenda.
If you talk to someone who is opposed to the health reform law, press them to name specific reforms they do not support. If they can’t name any, do them a huge favor and suggest they take a look at the provisions that may already be helping them. Then, they’ll at least understand what the repeal crowd is asking Americans to sacrifice.