Tales from the Trail

DNC to GOP on healthcare: Bring it on

June 27, 2012

 

The Democrats have an answer for the Republicans if the Supreme Court throws out President Barack Obama’s healthcare law on Thursday: Good luck with that.

It may be bravado in the face of what would seem to be huge disappointment, but some Democrats insist they relish the prospect of watching congressional Republicans grapple with how to deal with the massive and troubled industry. Annual U.S. spending on healthcare already totals $2.6 trillion a year. Skyrocketing costs are expected to make spending balloon to $4.8 trillion, or one-fifth of U.S. gross domestic product over the coming decade, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“It will be time for the Republicans to say what they are going to do. This is on them,” Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said on Wednesday at the Reuters Washington Summit.

“We’re already made our proposal. In my mind, the ball will be in their court,” she said. “They’re the ones that opposed this from the beginning, they’re the one that never proposed anything to ensure that you can cover every American. Never proposed anything to ensure that healthcare coverage will be affordable and accessible. … They’re the ones who are going to have to step up and say, ‘What are we going to do now?’ [Democrats] are not the majority in Congress.”

The Supreme Court is due to issue a landmark ruling on Thursday that will determine whether Obama’s healthcare law is constitutional. The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the most sweeping healthcare legislation since Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s. As Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement, its fate also has broad implications for consumers, employers, the healthcare industry and – potentially – the Nov. 6 election.

Fierce opposition to the healthcare law helped propel Republicans to big victories in the 2010 mid-term elections, when they won a majority of seats in the House of Representatives and cut into the Democratic majority in the Senate. But this time, more Democrats are embracing at least the aspects of the law that polls show consumers favor, such as barring insurance companies from refusing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

Wasserman-Schultz answered a question about whether the party regretted Obama’s focus on the healthcare law by recounting how she had spoken to a constituent who thanked her for supporting the healthcare law because she had saved $3,000 because she could keep her children on her health insurance after they became young adults.

Republicans have vowed to “repeal and replace” the healthcare law.  Mitt Romney, the likely Republican presidential nominee, says he will dump “Obamacare” if he wins the election even if the Supreme Court does not overturn it. Romney enacted healthcare changes as governor of Massachusetts that bore similarities to the law Obama signed. But Romney, who argues that the federal law is killing jobs, has not offered his own plan for the national healthcare industry.

Picture credit: Debbie Wasserman Schultz speaks during the Reuters Washington Summit. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Comments
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Why are we polarized over the insurance mandate when it actually makes us pay our debts; and gives help and dignity to millions of uninsured Americans?
“The insurance mandate is socialism, plain and simple.”
If it’s socialism, you’d have to buy it from the government, which would also tell you what doctor or hospital to go to. But you can buy health insurance from anybody, and you can get treated by the doctor and hospital you want. What’s socialist about that?
“Can’t you see, the government is making us buy insurance. We have no choice in the matter.”
Do you have a choice not to get hurt, or not to get sick? Why then do you want a choice not to have insurance to pay for it when you do?
States in fact already have an individual mandate for car insurance, and they have been putting uninsured drivers in jail for years.
“That’s different. Driving is a privilege.”
Then free health care must be a right in your book. Maybe this idea came from hospitals continuing to treat the uninsured the last half century.
The trade off to us living in a civilized society is that we have to follow rules we don’t agree with. In return, we get great many things, including goods and services that otherwise would be unavailable. But, we still have to pay for them. The mandate makes sure that we do.
What’s wrong with that?

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