Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Why Joe Heck STILL Wants to Take Away Your Health Care

So the day has finally arrived. Why does it feel so familiar. Oh yes, that's it.

“To date, 32 Floor votes have been taken to repeal, defund, or dismantle ObamaCare. Tomorrow’s vote to repeal ObamaCare will be the 33rd,” read an advisory from the office of Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

The vote, which follows the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, signals that the conservative base’s visceral opposition to the law remains strong. Republicans are set for another unanimous show of resistance to President Obama’s signature law, despite some hedging from politically vulnerable members, and will probably pick off a handful of vulnerable Democrats. [...]

For Democrats, it was an opportunity to highlight the benefits in the law, such as guaranteed coverage for people with preexisting conditions and the ability to remain on a parent’s insurance policy until 26. Democrats also bragged that the measure was pioneered by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, and echoed his defense of the mandate as an anti-free-rider provision.

“The Republicans are glorifying freeloaders,” said Rep. Jim McDermott (WA), the only physician in the Democratic caucus. “People who say they don’t want to pay if they can.”

And of course, no one is more excited about today than Joe Heck. He was absolutely giddy last week as we was counting House votes for repeal. Just don't tell him about the vote count in the Senate.

And don't even try telling him about the reality of the Affordable Care Act. It's actually set to save middle class families an average of $5,210 by giving them tax credits to participate in the new health insurance exchange. And in reworking the health care system to benefit consumers, costs will fall for everyone.

Now contrast this with what happens if Joe Heck gets his way and the ACA is repealed. It isn't a pretty picture. Here's the damage in full.

1) Millions without coverage. A Congressional Budget Office analysis of the GOP’s repeal measure from 2011 found that “32 million fewer nonelderly people would have health insurance in 2019, leaving a total of about 54 million nonelderly people uninsured. The share of legal nonelderly residents with insurance coverage in 2019 would be about 83 percent, compared with a projected share of 94 percent under current law (and 83 percent currently).”

2) Health insurance costs increase. The same analysis concluded that “many people would end up paying more for health insurance— because under current law, the majority of enrollees purchasing coverage in that market would receive subsidies via the insurance exchanges, and [repeal] would eliminate those subsidies.” What’s more, “Premiums for employment-based coverage obtained through large employers would be slightly higher.”

3) Americans with pre-existing conditions will lose access to coverage. Republicans have said that they would not replace the Affordable Care Act’s federal rules prohibiting insurers from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. Instead, they would encourage states to form expensive high-risk pools to cover the sick or, alternatively, leave them to find their own coverage in the individual market —where many will likely go uninsured.

4) Medicare in disarray. Approximately 100 million Medicare claims are processed each month using a formula that was altered by the Affordable Care Act. Should the law be repealed, new rates could not be calculated under the old, pre-ACA formula until after a rulemaking process that can take months before is completed. The result would be that Medicare would not be able to pay doctors for what could be many months.

5) Deficits increase by billions. The CBO predicts that “as a result of changes in direct spending and revenues is likely to be an increase in the vicinity of $230 billion.” Repeal would also “increase federal deficits in the decade after 2019 by an amount that is in a broad range around one-half percent of GDP.”

Yes, it's really that bad. If the Affordable Care Act is done away with, health care costs increase as fewer people are covered. And yes, it even means the budget deficit increases as we revert to the failed status quo.

So why again is Joe Heck so excited about today's vote? Basically, this is just a political stunt meant to please teabaggers while sowing doubt among the rest of us about ACA's future. Yet again, House Republicans are putting crass politics above good policy. And they have to resort to meaningless political posturing because it's their only weapon they can use to counter the truth about what the Affordable Care Act really does.

Oh, and they need something to distract from Mitt Romney's world of chaos. Romney can't even decide what the individual mandate is! Since his health care plan was the basis for the ACA, he's especially caught between a rock and a hard place.

So there you have it. Apparently, Joe Heck values Mitt Romney's political career more than delivering better health care for Nevada's working families. Talk about crazy priorities.

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