One Year After Passage, Debate on Federal Health Care Law Continues
Around the State
“Americans are already feeling the positive effects,” insisted U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose name has received some attention as a possible candidate to be the next chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, on a call with the media on Wednesday. “Families no longer have to worry about losing their insurance.
“Repealing the Affordable Care Act would be catastrophic,” continued Wasserman Schultz, who maintained that it would reduce the national debt and deficit and provide better health care for all Americans. She attacked Republicans who looked to repeal the measure as being stuck in the past.
Wasserman Schultz was not the only Democratic member of the Florida delegation defending the law.
“Those opposed to health care reform charged this law would mean socialized medicine, death panels for seniors, and devastating job losses,” said Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch. “Now, a year later, we see new protections for patients, cheaper prescription drugs for seniors under Medicare, and 1.5 million new private-sector jobs – over 240,000 of which are in the health-care industry.”
Ashley Bauman, the Florida director for the Obama-aligned Organizing for America, also praised the law.
“In just one year, millions of Americans have already begun to feel the positive effects of the Affordable Care Act,” said Bauman. “With unprecedented patient protections and benefits, families no longer need to worry that their children could be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition or that they could be denied critical care after hitting a lifetime limit. Seniors are now eligible for free preventive care and wellness visits with their doctor, and they are paying less out of pocket for their prescription drugs.”
Republicans marked the anniversary and continued to call for repeal of the law.
“A year ago, Obamacare was unleashed on the American people with devastating consequences on an already struggling economy,” said Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who is sponsoring a repeal measure. “Obamacare’s cost, regulations and complexity have stunted job growth by making it more difficult for entrepreneurial Americans to start a business or expand existing ones. Obamacare is adding to our nation’s debt, destroying jobs and threatening current coverage plans that people are satisfied with, and I support its full repeal and replacement.
“While I am encouraged by recent federal court rulings against Obamacare’s constitutionality, I believe Congress has the responsibility to repeal and replace this law with common-sense reforms that will lower health care costs and get more Americans insured,” Rubio added. “In the Senate, I will continue supporting Obamacare’s repeal and will keep urging those in Washington who still don’t ‘get it’ to make it an urgent priority.”
“This law, the federal government's overhaul of our health care system, has proven neither affordable nor protective when it comes to offering quality health coverage to Americans,” noted Republican U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis. “The law's taxes and mandates are driving businesses to cut employee hours, restrict the number of full-time employees, and in some cases drop employee health coverage altogether.
“We have already seen that some employers have reported they will save more money by ending their health insurance coverage and paying the IRS-imposed penalty,” added Bilirakis. “Complying with the new law is adding to the expenses and obstacles that job creators face in the midst of an already difficult economy.
“The overhaul also drastically shifted more people onto welfare rolls by adding millions of new Medicaid beneficiaries onto cash-strapped state budgets,” continued Bilirakis. “Simply shifting health-care costs onto the backs of the states is not a fiscally responsible or effective way to expand coverage given Medicaid's poor track record.”
Moments after the law was passed, then-Attorney General Bill McCollum filed suit against the bill, eventually being joined by 205 other states and the National Federation of Independent Businesses in offering a constitutional challenge which appears headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This case is about protecting individual liberty and preserving the Constitution’s limits on federal power,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi, who pledged to continue the lawsuit during her campaign in the 2010 election cycle. “With the expedited appeal schedule granted by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, we hope to have this issue before the U.S. Supreme Court as soon as possible.”
Nor does the issue show any sign of going away, with a number of the possible Republican presidential candidates attacking the law on Wednesday.
"One year ago today, President Obama signed into law the federal government takeover of health care, one of the most flawed and misguided laws in modern history,” said former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, who formed a presidential exploratory earlier in the week. “Obamacare takes our health-care system in the wrong direction, failing to reduce costs and improve quality. The law infringes on individuals' and states' rights by forcing individuals to purchase a good or service, which is why I joined a lawsuit calling the law unconstitutional. If courts do not do so first, as president I would support the immediate repeal of Obamacare and replace it with market-based health care reforms."
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.