Like a recurring nightmare, the debate over healthcare is returning. Apparently, more than a year of partisan bickering on the subject wasn’t enough.
Throughout the 2009 and 2010 debate over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Republicans argued that repealing the bill would not raise the national debt, among other things. Indeed, they spent much of the last election cycle campaigning on the repeal of health insurance reform and the principle of financial responsibility, as well as a lot of “take back our country” nonsense.
Republicans introduced a bill to the House of Representatives called “Repeal the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.” A vote was scheduled for Wednesday but was delayed following the shooting in Tucson involving Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday.
The bill’s name gives away the reality that it is a political stunt disguised as something meaningful. Once the bill passes the conservative-controlled House, it will almost certainly die in the Senate, where Democrats have a 53-47 majority. Should Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell miraculously convince four Democrats to defect, President Barack Obama would veto the bill and it would die anyway.
The repeal bill is an unnecessary and futile exercise. But for the sake of curiosity, presume for a moment that it passes and succeeds in repealing “Obamacare.”
While checking in at only two pages in length, the bill would manage to blow a $230 billion hole in the nation’s budget in the first decade, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). In the decade beyond that, the CBO estimates the bill will cost an additional $1 trillion.
Should conservatives succeed in the complete repeal of health care reform, it is projected to cost the country $1.23 trillion over two decades.
Obamacare, on the other hand, lowers the federal deficit by $118 billion over 10 years with more savings from then on. It turns out the Republican Party sees fiscal responsibility as a bad joke. Either that or a fairy tale used to win elections.
But wait, there’s more. The repeal of the president’s health law would mean students will no longer be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance until the age of 26, a valuable provision in the harsh economy.
The proposed repeal of health care reform also means the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap will be reopened, meaning elderly people could have to pay thousands more dollars per year on the drugs that keep them healthy.
Furthermore, people with pre-existing conditions could no longer be assured medical insurance, and the 31 million Americans it extended coverage to would be on their own.
What this whole charade comes down to is that Republicans have not yet come to terms with the fact that the majority of Americans like health care reform. According to a December CNN research poll, 56 percent of the country either supports Obamacare or does not believe it is liberal enough.
That number will only increase as people find out what reform really means for them.
While the Republican-controlled House may try to chip away at reform by withholding funding, the reality is that most of health care reform is, thankfully, here to stay.
Vincent DeFrancesco is a junior majoring in mass communications.