An opinion by Patricia L Johnson
A total of 434 votes were cast, 245-189, in the U.S. House on January 19, 2011 on H.R. 2, “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act”; a one-page bill to repeal the provisions of both the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Public Law 111-148 [March 23, 2010] and the Health Care and Education and Reconciliation Act of 2010, Public Law 111-152 [March 30, 2010]
87 of the 96 Republican Freshmen, voted to repeal and all 126 Tea Party members (either endorsed by Tea Party Express or FreedomWorks) voted for repeal.1
But, we all know that old saying – ‘money talks’. In this case $19.2 million dollars in campaign contributions was provided to Tea Party endorsed candidates by the Health-Care industry. Compare that figure to the $25.7 million total provided to non-endorsed candidates. 1
Back in November of 2010 Representative Andy Harris (R-MD 1st) a physician, created front page news by demanding to know why his government subsidized Healthcare package wasn’t going into effect immediately [there is a 28-day waiting period]. His question was posed during a private orientation session for new House members, but created such a stir it made the news.
I find it absurd newbies can vote on a bill, symbolic as it may be, that has the potential to change the lives of everyday Americans when they’ve only been in office for a total of nine days. It’s obvious that some of these representatives know little or nothing about the workings of Congress.
The Kaiser Foundation prepared a summary of the provisions in Public Law 111-148, PPACA in a publication titled Focus on Health Reform. This summary consists of 13 pages and is a must read for anyone that currently has an opinion on “Obamacare”.
From day one, Republicans have been against the plan due to the individual mandate requirement for all individuals to purchase health coverage. The point they have neglected to make is, in order to offset the cost of this coverage, individuals will be provided premium and cost-sharing subsidies, based on income. Simply put, you’re not going to be forced into purchasing insurance coverage that you cannot afford.
They have also repeatedly advised senior citizens Medicare benefits will be cut with this plan. That is simply not true, senior citizens will gain benefits. Medicare spending will be cut, over a 10-year period, by lowering fees paid to hospitals, providers and lowering payments to “Medicare Advantage” insurance plans.
Last, but certainly not least, “death panels” will not make end-of life decisions for Medicare recipients. Former Governor Sarah Palin was the first person to make this outrageous claim, which was based on an amendment that would have provided coverage for end-of-life planning discussions. The amendment was subsequently dropped, due to the controversy, and seniors lost a proposed benefit, due to the fear instilled in them by a member of the Republican Party.
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll from September 2010 indicated three out of every ten seniors still believe there are “death panels”.
Senior citizens are easy targets for politicians wanting to get votes based on fear, and there is nothing more fearful to someone on Medicare than stating decisions about their healthcare are going to be taken out of their hands and made by “death panels”. Seniors have enough to worry about without the Republicans scaring them on a regular basis with their twisted truths.
Let us not forget how we got into the economic nightmare we’re currently trying to repair. It started with the lie that Iraq had WMD’s and ended with major tax cuts for the wealthy, tax incentives for big business, and tax loopholes for the rich, all in the name of ‘creating jobs’.
2010 was the first year out of the last four where jobs have actually been created at the average rate of 94,000 per month, for a total of 1.1 million jobs. A far cry from what we need, but an incredible accomplishment based on the number of jobs that were lost in this country during the last three years of the Bush administration.