Sunday, July 1, 2012

Republicans angry about parts of health care bill that don't exist

Posted by on Sun, Jul 1, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Republicans flooded the airwaves on Sunday morning denouncing the Supreme Court's upholding of the Affordable Care Act, promising to repeal the law if they take over the White House and Congress this November (the GOP-led House will vote again to do so on July 18).

But the biggest Republican in Florida, Governor Rick Scott, chose Friday night on the Fox News Channel to let the state and the country know that he will not begin implementing the law, saying he will neither set up a health exchange nor participate in an expansion of Medicaid.

Scott knows he opposes the law, even though it's apparent that he's confused about aspects of it. Speaking to reporters in Friday in Tampa, he talked about how the bill would be bad for businesses, saying that he was "at a business the other day and they said to me when I walked in- I think they said they had about 20 employees - 'Governor, is this bill going to become law?' And I said I hope not, I'm going to do everything I can to make sure it doesn't', because they said 'We will have to close. We cannot afford the penalty for us."

Except under the Affordable Care Act since 2010 , businesses with less than 25 full-time equivalent employees have been eligible for a tax break if they cover at least half the cost of health insurance. Companies with less than 50 employees do not have to pay for their employees' care.

It also contradicts Scott's statement earlier in the month that if the ACA were ruled constitutional "we'll comply with the law."

On Sunday, congressional Republican leaders Mitch McConnell and John Boehner said they couldn't wait to repeal "ObamaCare," though they were less direct about what would they do in its stead, when asked about individual portions of the mammoth bill that actually are popular.

Nobody drove harder in challenging the Republican line of thinking than CBS News' Norah O'Donnell, guest-hosting for Bob Schieffer on Face The Nation.

O'Donnell: What about pre-existing conditions? What about the millions of Americans that have pre-existing conditions and are discriminated against?"

Boehner: We believe that the way it is done within 'Obamacare' is pushing the cost of health insurance for all Americans much too high. We believe that the state high-risk pools are a much more effective way to making sure that those with pre-existing conditions have access to affordable health insurance.

O'Donnell: But access to affordable health insurance. You're not saying you'd be in favor of a law that would prevent discrimination of those individuals?

Boehner: No, we just believe there's a better way to make sure that they have an affordable way to quality health insurance.

O'Donnell: So when you repeal this, what are you going to replace it with?

Bohener: I just started pointing out: we're going to take a step-by-step approach that puts in place the kind of policies that will make our health insurance system more what I call patient-centered, and lower costs.


Democrats on the chat shows had their talking points down cold. This isn't a tax (despite the high court's declaration that it is) on those who don't want to get into a health care plan, they maintained, but just a penalty. And it's all about cutting down on "free-riders" who need to "take personal responsibility" for paying for their own health care, vs. having taxpayers pay for them when they go to the emergency room (On CNN, Jennifer Granholm said Republicans have gone after "welfare cheats," and now it's time to go after "health-care cheats").

The White House OMB Director Jack Lew got into this exchange with ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos:

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you do concede, you keep wanting to use the word penalty. You do concede that the law survived only because Justice Roberts found this to be a tax?

LEW: I – I think if you look at the decision, which is a very complicated one, there are arguments that support different theories. There were…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But the argument of Chief Justice Roberts is that it’s a tax.

LEW: He – He went through the different powers that Congress has and found that there is a power, whatever you call it, to assess a penalty like this.

STEPAHNOPOULOS: He called it a tax.

LEW: (no response)

STEPHANOPOLOUS: So you’re conceding that?

LEW: I’m saying that it was set up as a penalty for people who choose not to buy insurance, even though they can afford it, and for that 1 percent, we call it fair.

on NBC's Meet The Press, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and former Vermont Democratic Governor Howard Dean did the usual back-and-forth that you've seen countless times about the legislation.

Like Rick Scott, Bobby Jindal says he won't expand Medicaid unless he has to, meaning he'll wait until the results of the presidential election are known since Mitt Romney vows to repeal the bill as well.

Dean said that was absurd, since the feds are picking up the cost of all of that expansion for the next three years and 90 percent of it after that. He then rolled off some disturbing statistics about Louisiana, citing its lackluster standing when it comes to child poverty, premature deaths and industrial accidents.

Not wanting to make the argument too personal, Dean picked on Texas, saying that 22 percent of children and 25 percent of its adult population don't have health insurance. "Those aren't just Texas kids, those are American kids!" Dean proclaimed, adding that he didn't want to live in a country where it was acceptable for so many children to go uninsured.

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