Posts Tagged ‘Speaker of the House’

Nearly 50 Percent of Americans Think the Healthcare Law Has Been Repealed – They’re Wrong!

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Defying the odds – and facing President Barack Obama’s veto pen – the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA); a move that was DOA in the Senate.

Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, approximately 50 percent of Americans are convinced that the healthcare law has been successfully repealed.  A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found widespread public confusion about the law, with 22 percent of Americans incorrectly believing it has been repealed and another 26 percent unsure or unwilling to say. Even after extensive media coverage of the repeal effort, only 52 percent of Americans accurately responded that the healthcare law remained intact.  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “There remains no consensus about whether to keep, expand, replace or repeal the law.  Forty-eight percent are opposed to the law, while 43 percent favor it.  Sixty-one percent of those polled oppose Congress cutting off funding of the law in order to block it, as many Republican lawmakers are considering.”

The Republican-sponsored repeal bill, curiously named the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act,” passed 245 – 189 with assistance from three Democrats.  Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has refused to bring repeal to the Senate floor for a vote.  President Obama has vowed to veto any repeal effort.  Republicans have not introduced an alternative bill, although Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) said Republicans will ask congressional committees to make “common-sense reforms” to expand coverage and cut costs, but told reporters no “artificial deadlines” were needed.

“As has been true since early in the debate, individual provisions of the new law are more popular than the law itself, complicating the debate over repeal,” the study notes. “So while the public in general is divided over whether to keep or repeal the legislation, if they could pick and choose, the large majority (roughly eight in 10 Americans) would keep the provisions providing tax credits to small businesses, and upward of seven in 10 would keep the provisions that close the Medicare doughnut hole, provide coverage subsidies to those of low and moderate income, institute the new voluntary long-term care insurance program known as the CLASS Act, and prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.”

According to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, 32 percent of Americans would like to see the law repealed; 13 percent want to see the bill left as it stands. The poll found that 29 percent of Americans want to see minor changes and that 24 percent want major changes.  Representative Ben Chandler, (D-KY), who voted against the law last year, said he voted against repeal because he thinks the law’s “bad” parts should be repealed piece by piece.  “I will not vote to repeal parts of the law that protect central Kentuckians by preventing insurance companies from dropping people if they get sick, ending lifetime caps on coverage and eliminating pre-existing condition exclusions,” Chandler said.

Implementation of the law is continuing as planned, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  “I want the people who are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act — including families, seniors and small business owners — to know that this vote does not change the law and that this department will continue to work every day to implement this vital law.”

Republicans “A Pledge to America” Vows to Repeal the Affordable Care Act

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

House Republicans want to repeal the Affordable Care Act.Republicans are threatening to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as part of their “A Pledge to America” proposal.  On the six-month anniversary of healthcare reform’s enactment, House Republicans issued their “Pledge” , which proposes overturning the law and replacing it with “real reforms” focusing on medical liability reforms to control “junk lawsuits” and defensive medicine.  Other elements of the “Pledge” would expand health saving accounts; ban taxpayer funding of abortion; allow people to buy insurance across state lines; assure access for patients with pre-existing conditions by expanding state high-risk pools and reinsurance programs; as well as cutting the cost of coverage.

According to Stephanie Cutter, assistant to the president for special projects, “The (Republicans’) agenda claims to protect people with pre-existing conditions, but it repeals the new law’s ban on discriminating against uninsured Americans, including children who have a pre-existing condition.  It will mean that seniors will pay more for their prescription drugs, and their new free preventive Medicare benefits will be cut.”

Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, noted that the GOP proposal “will raise taxes by more than $40 billion on up to four million small businesses that provide health benefits to their employees…and will result in premium increases by eliminating the billions of dollars in cost-saving measures.”

Democratic lawmakers assailed the “Pledge” as recycled ideas that will only intensify the nation’s problems.  “Republicans want to return to the same failed economic policies that hurt millions of Americans and threatened our economy,” said Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).  Even if Republicans vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama still has the power to veto their legislation.  It’s likely that he would use his veto power to protect one of his major legislative achievements.

Speak Softly and Carry an Oversized Gavel

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

 The House of Representatives passes healthcare.  Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Speaker of the House, presided over the often fractious but historic healthcare reform overhaul vote with the help of an oversized gavel borrowed from Representative John Dingell (D-MI), who chaired the passage of the Medicare bill 45 years ago.  “A treasure in the Dingell family that was used in the enactment of the Medicare law,” Pelosi said.  “I will use it this evening when we cast a very successful vote for this important legislation.  This has been a complete team effort, not only a team effort, a partnership with our leadership and every member of our caucus and we look forward to making this historic day known to the American people.”

The late Sunday evening passage of the healthcare reform bill by a thin 219 – 212 margin was described by President Barack Obama as “This is what change looks like.”  All 178 House Republicans and 34 Democrats voted against the legislation, which ultimately will cover 32,000,000 Americans who currently lack healthcare coverage.  Also on Sunday, the House passed a package of “fixes” that will resolve some of the conflicts between the House and Senate versions of the healthcare bill.  Senate Democrats plan to pass the fixes under budget reconciliation, which requires a simple majority vote.

The president, who plans to sign the bill, said “Tonight, after nearly 100 years of talk and frustration, after decades of trying, and a year of sustained effort and debate, the United States Congress finally declared that America’s workers and America’s families and America’s small businesses deserve the security of knowing that here, in this country, neither illness nor accident should endanger the dreams they’ve worked a lifetime to achieve.”

“This is the Civil Rights Act of the 21st century,” said Representative James E. Clyburn (D-SC), the third highest ranking Democrat in the House.

Student Loan Legislation May Be Attached to Healthcare Reform

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Adding student loan bill to healthcare reform legislation could hand President Obama two major domestic victories.  Senate Democrats may tack an overhaul of the student loan program onto the healthcare reform bill, potentially handing President Barack Obama with a double victory on two of his top domestic priorities.  According to Senator Dick Durbin, Majority Whip (D-IL), “There was a stronger feeling for including” the education proposal, although he admitted that a final decision has not yet been made.  The proposal would shift subsidies that currently support private lenders to other student assistance programs, including Pell Grants for families who struggle to pay college tuition.  “Some of the things accomplished here are really going to help a lot of people across American” Durbin said.

The leadership in both the House of Representatives and the Senate seemed to be on the verge of attaching the student loan bill to a package of fixes to the healthcare legislation.  House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA), who is a proponent of combining the two measures, said “Senators have a simple choice here.  They can either choose to continue sending tens of billions of wasteful subsidies to lenders, or they can invest that money directly in students and families.  It’s critical.  People have made it very clear that they want to take this home.”

The Congressional Budget Office said the Senate healthcare bill will cost $875 billion over 10 years and cut the deficit by $118 billion.  President Obama’s proposal, which contains negotiated provisions from the House bill, could add an additional $100 billion to the ultimate cost.  The Senate’s parliamentarian has ruled that combining the bills will work, assuming legislators reach the right balance on the final price tag.