Statement Opposing Latest GOP Repeal Effort

Jul 10, 2012 Issues: Health Care

Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) today made the following statement on the House floor in opposition to the latest House Republican attempt to repeal Obamacare:

After seven decades of frustrated efforts, the Congress and the President acted on health reform. The Republican answer is to repeal:

  • Repeal Social Security
  • Repeal Medicare
  • Repeal Medicaid – by block granting it to the states

Now they return to the same old song -- repeal health care reform. This Republican Party— the party of repeal, captured by the radical right—would put insurance companies back in charge of health care, and repeal:

  • Coverage for 17 million children with pre-existing conditions
  • Coverage for 6.6 million young adults now covered under their parents’ insurance plan
  • Tax credits for 360,000 small employers covering 2 million workers
  • Ending lifetime caps on insurance for 105 million people
  • Closing the burdensome donut hole for seniors’ prescription medicines 

The Republican party of repeal says repeal and replace. There has not been a single comprehensive plan to replace ACA. Indeed the only comprehensive health plan presented by Republicans was put forward by Mitt Romney when Governor. Here is how he described his plan as recently as 2010: “Right now, in lots of parts of the country, if individuals do not have insurance, they can arrive at the hospital and be given free care, paid for by government. Our current system is a big-government system. A conservative approach is one that relies on individual responsibility. … But in my view, and others are free to disagree, expecting people who can afford to buy insurance to do so is consistent with personal responsibility, and that's a cornerstone of conservatism.”

Well the ones who are free to disagree are his fellow Republicans. The Massachusetts plan with an individual mandate reflected an original conservative Heritage Foundation proposal. Indeed, bills with an individual responsibility provision have been cosponsored by Republicans for two decades. Now, however, Republicans have been captured by the radical right and have taken a 180-degree turn. This Repeal Bill only deepens and widens the gulf handcuffing this Congress. It is as we live in two different universes. This is the universe that is lived in by people who have sent me letters like this:

Krystyn of Warren wrote to me:

"I am 41 years and was diagnosed with Reiter's syndrome, a form of asymmetric rheumatoid arthritis, about 3 years ago.  … Because the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, I don't have to worry any more.  I know that I cannot be dropped from my insurance carrier and that they cannot place limits on my medical care.  I now have one less thing to worry about for my family and myself."

This letter was from Pamela of Madison Heights:

“As a nurse for over 35 years I have seen the impact of those who could not afford costly premiums and those who have been denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. I have watched those who have to undergo painful procedures or those who have been given a poor prognosis from their physician because they have not had access to preventative or even standard medical treatment due to the cost. The Affordable Care Act is right and just.” 

David of Saint Clair Shores writes:

“Honestly, I am a Republican but I don't believe the health insurance bill should be repealed. I would like to see compromise towards improving the legislation rather than destroying it entirely."

And then this from Nancy of Clinton Township:

"The part of the care act that is most important to my family (even my Republican husband) is the provision for our college age daughter. Our insurance dropped her at the age of 19, and we had to buy a separate policy that was very expensive and had poor coverage.  Now we can save several thousands of dollars a year, which helps with her education. And, it makes me sad that more people don't understand how wonderful this is. I would like the message to get out to more people.”

Middle class families have lots to worry about these days as they struggle to recover from the worst Recession in decades.  Instead, of making it harder for them – by putting the insurance companies back in the driver’s seat – we should be focused on moving forward, on passing jobs legislation that we can all agree upon to further accelerate our nation’s recovery.