obamacare Archives - Page 4 of 30 - Florida Politics

Ron DeSantis sees political risk unless Republicans repeal and replace ACA

Congressman Ron DeSantis warned Wednesday that his fellow Republicans would take a political risk in failing to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and settle for tweaks to the health insurance expansion.

“The system’s architecture is flawed,” the Republican from Marineland, in Northeast Florida, said during an interview on MSNBC.

“It will not lead to lowering costs. Remember, that was the key promise that was made — that you’d see a $2,500 reduction in premiums for the average family. If you’re just nibbling around the edges — my concern is, I don’t agree with Obamacare, but I just don’t think that’s going to lead to putting a downward pressure on costs,” DeSantis said.

“It’s also the case that Republicans for six years have said, first the law wasn’t going to work, and then the law’s not working, and then that we were going to repeal it and replace it with our own patient-centered reform.

“To the extent you’re doing something that’s not really living up to what you promised, I think that runs into problems with the voters. Because Republicans would not have taken the House in 2010 and they would not have taken the U.S. Senate in 2014 if they had just run on minor tweaks to Obamacare.”

DeSantis praised President Donald Trump’s approach during his address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday evening.

“I actually thought the president hit it exactly right. He was specific enough to offer guiding principles and contours to what a replacement would look like, but he didn’t get lost in the minutia, which I think would have put people to sleep,” he said.

“Particularly on the health care angle, I think what he did was thread the needle, where Republicans are probably going to be able to unify around those principles,” DeSantis continued.

“Particularly the fact that he linked the tax credits to health savings accounts. A lot of conservatives believe that the monies going to a health savings account, the individual can then play their premiums tax-free, and then, obviously, use the health savings account for other medical needs. That is one of the ways you put downward pressure on the cost of both insurance and medical care.”

DeSantis endorsed a work requirement for some Medicaid recipients.

“If you’re an able-bodied, childless adult, there at minimum has to be a work requirement in order to receive that benefit,” he said.

“I think Medicaid should be used to do its intended purpose, which is people who are disabled, who are poor. With the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, you are putting childless, able-bodies adults on Medicaid,” he said.

“The problem with that is, fewer and fewer physicians are willing to accept Medicaid now. So you’re expanding the number of people who are trying to access care on this program. I think that ends up undermining the ability of the truly poor and indigent who we need to be helping, for them to access care. I think giving governor’s the flexibility to do this makes a lot of sense.”

He liked Trump’s suggestion that an infrastructure program contain private investment.

“If it’s an Obama-style trillion-dollar bill, I think, obviously, Republicans are going to have a lot of problems with that,” he said.

“I think there’s a lot of details that are obviously going to be important, but I’m one that definitely would like to incentivize private infrastructure development. And that’s not just roads and bridges. That’s dealing with our electric grid, that’s dealing with pipelines and things like that.

“The details are obviously going to be important. The higher the price tag is, the more difficult it will be to get it through the Congress.

Gus Bilirakis to hold another health care town hall in Wesley Chapel

Tampa Bay Republican U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis will host another public listening session on the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday in Wesley Chapel.

During the two-hour event, Bilirakis said he would take feedback and ideas from constituents about the direction of the U.S. health care system, including the repeal and replacement of the ACA.

The six-term congressman has held similar sessions in Palm Harbor and New Port Richey this month, both of which packed with supporters of the health care law angered at Congressional Republicans’ plan to repeal the law without a replacement.

Following those events, Bilirakis signed on to a bill that would keep the ACA provisions protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions after its repeal.

“I heard a clear message from my constituents at recent town halls: people with pre-existing conditions need the peace of mind of knowing that they can get — and keep — health care,” Bilirakis said in a statement. “At events in Palm Harbor and New Port Richey, I listened to folks share personal stories about themselves and loved ones who were denied access to coverage because of a chronic illness. I made a promise to gather input from the people of Florida’s 12th District about the future of our nation’s health care, and I am keeping that promise with this legislation. We will protect those with pre-existing conditions and put in place a health care system that works for everybody.”

The Wesley Chapel will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Wesley Chapel High School Performing Arts Center on Wells Road. The event is open to the public.

 

Darren Soto willing to work with GOP on health care, but not on this plan

Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto declared Friday that he’s willing to work with Republicans on an appropriate replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act but completely dismissed the GOP’s current proposal as no where near acceptable.

Soto, representing Florida’s Orlando-Kissimmee based 9th Congressional District,  is participating in the House of Representatives Democrats’ “National Day of Action” trying to build a grassroots opposition to Republicans plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. Soto is holding a town hall meeting in Kissimmee Saturday. On Friday he participated in a telephone press conference with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and four other Democrats.

In that call, Soto declared that the ACA has been “a smashing success” in Florida but if Republicans are going to repeal and replace he offers his service to help build an acceptable replacement plan.

“If Republicans have an alternative, show us your plan. We’re happy to work with you,” Soto said. “If not, work with us to improve the act rather than to eliminate it. We can work together on the premiums and more participation by citizens and by insurers. But a repeal without a replace would be a disaster.”

On Thursday Republicans circulated the outlines of such a plan. Soto, Pelosi and other Democrats on the conference call all declared it to be woefully inadequate to merit any support.

“This is just more of a doubling down of the extremism we’ve seen. They have not been responsive,” Soto said.

Pelosi said the plan circulating in Congress is nothing more of an outline, and she predicted that Republicans will hear from their constituents, just as Soto and the other Democrats holding town halls Saturday expect to hear from theirs, that many people have come to rely on and even like ObamaCare.

Also on the call with Pelosi and Soto were U.S. Reps Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Barbara Lee of California, Judy Chu of California, and Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania. They each took turns offering full endorsements of the ACA and anecdotes about how it has helped individual constituents.

“It has been a smashing success in Florida,” Soto said. “We have the largest exchange of any other state. We have received more subsidies than any other state. And we’ve enrolled nearly 1.8 million Floridians. Many working families in Florida have participated in this program because employer health care has been unavailable to them. It has drastically reduced our uninsured rates.

“Our state has much to lose. But really all Americans have much to lose.”

Florida Times-Union writer featured on Morris Communications right-wing website

Morris Communications, the parent company of the Florida Times-Union and the St. Augustine Record, launched a right-wing website recently.

(Note: the headline is not redundant, so save your jokes.)

The company, which created a kerfuffle last year by endorsing Donald Trump as an “agent of change” in the T-U and other corporate properties, has doubled down on its position with the launch of Crossroads for America.

The website does not appear to be affiliated with Karl Rove‘s PAC, American Crossroads.

However, the sentiments contained within Crossroads for America, a look at “government at the crossroads” and “challenges in today’s democracy,” would likely be endorsed by George W. Bush‘s former strategist.

A few of the articles up on the site on Wednesday morning were written by Mike Clark, the editorial page editor of the T-U, including the one promoted Tuesday evening by the local Jacksonville paper.

On the site, Clark takes issue with the national debt, using muscular language like “We know what needs to be done. Now we need leaders to take action.”

What “needs to be done,” asserts Clark: cutting entitlement programs.

“That is where President Donald Trump comes in. He is bold, he isn’t worried about political correctness and he certainly isn’t playing the Washington spin game,” Clark asserts.

In “Obamacare Will Not Cure Nation’s Ills,” Clark takes his scalpel to the Affordable Care Act.

Happily, the House of Representatives has the palliative care for which America clamors, Clark writes.

“There are a variety of good Republican plans in the mix such as the Better Way plan from Rep. Paul Ryan or the recently released plan from the Republican Study Group,” the T-U editorialist asserts.

“Here is what Americans can expect from the Republican president and Congress: More choices. Less government control. Access favored over guarantees. More individual responsibility. More simplicity, less complexity,” Clark contends.

Clark avoids El Presidente’s campaign call to build a wall and let Mexico pay for it (the check is in the mail!) in his essay solving the problems regarding illegal immigration.

However, the editorialist does find time to cite anti-immigration advocate Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies and not the Florida State soccer coach, below the virtual fold.

Krikorian, when he Skyped in as a Florida House committee witness in Tallahassee recently, occasioned a walkout by the Democrats on hand.

House Majority Leader Janet Cruz called Krikorian a “white nationalist,” reported our own Mitch Perry, who spotlighted one of Krikorian’s provocative positions (“Haiti’s so screwed up because it wasn’t colonized long enough”) in the piece.

Jacksonville residents made a lot of noise about cancelling newspaper subscriptions in the wake of the Times-Union endorsement of Trump (a position not shared on the news side).

Frank Denton, in his editorial role, punted on accountability for that endorsement, saying it’s a corporate position.

And it looks like corporate has doubled down on that pro-Trump stance, and will continue to as long as the Morris family owns newspapers.

Lenny Curry backs Donald Trump’s travel ban from terror-linked Muslim countries

Back in 2015, in the wake of a terror attack in Paris, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry stunned some when he came out in favor of restrictions on allowing Syrian refugees to enter the state of Florida.

Curry noted, in letters to Jacksonville’s U.S. Congress delegation, that “at least one of the eight terrorists who conducted the attacks entered Europe with a special passport as a refugee of Syria. In light of this, I am very concerned about the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.”

He joined Florida Gov. Rick Scott in his request of members of Congress “to take any action available through the powers of the United States Congress to prevent federal allocations toward the relocation of Syrian refugees without extensive examination into how this would affect our homeland security.”

This position had been largely forgotten – until Donald Trump issued an executive order barring travel for 90 days from seven majority Muslim countries, including Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and the Sudan.

Additionally, the Trump order barred refugee admissions for 120 days, and imposed an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees … thus, fulfilling that ask from the Florida Governor and the Jacksonville Mayor.

****

Despite the firestorm surrounding the Trump executive order, which continues to blaze on every cable news network and social media feed, Curry supports the administration.

In a conversation Monday morning, Mayor Curry noted that he had joined the governor back in 2015 in demanding “certainty and safeguards” from the federal government on refugee admissions.

“I continue to believe that’s the case,” Curry said. “When the federal government moves to protect [American citizens], that’s the right move. The Trump administration is trying to protect [Americans] from terrorism.”

While Curry believes that some of the early execution of the executive order, such as barring permanent residents and green card holders from entry, is “problematic,” he also is willing to cut the Trump Administration some slack.

“The intent of the administration is mired,” Curry said, “in the bureaucracy of big federal government.”

Some pundits have suggested that a problem with the executive order was that it circumvented the Congress; for his part, Curry is “not going to get in that process.”

****

In a related subject, an organization that Curry is a member of – the United States Conference of Mayors – has made news in January by coming out in opposition to President Trump’s positions on sanctuary cities and a massive overhaul of the Affordable Care Act.

In contrast to his immediate predecessor in office, Alvin Brown, Curry hasn’t been a particularly active conference member.

Brown attended fifteen of the group’s conclaves.

Curry?

“I have not attended any of those conferences,” the mayor said.

Mayor Curry hasn’t studied the group’s positions on sanctuary cities or on Obamacare.

Given the gap between the mayor’s politics and that of the group, meanwhile, Curry intends to “look at that investment.”

The current price tag for membership in the group: upwards of $26,000.

****

However, there is a salient reason the mayor hasn’t given much thought to what the U.S. Conference of Mayors has to say.

Curry asserts that his day to day focus is on running the city, including victims of violent crime, saying that what he gets up thinking about – indeed, what wakes him up in the middle of the night sometimes – are situations like that of Aiden McClendon.

A year ago, the 22-month-old toddler was gunned down as he sat in a car on Jacksonville’s Eastside.

Stopping that violent crime – ensuring that such situations don’t happen again – is Curry’s focus.

And that focus informs Curry’s support of an executive order that seems draconian to many, but makes sense to a mayor who embraces public safety as his primary mission.

Americans feat they’ll lose coverage with Obamacare repeal: Poll

Though “Obamacare” still divides Americans, a majority worry that many will lose coverage if the 2010 law is repealed in the nation’s long-running political standoff over health care.

new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 56 percent of U.S. adults are “extremely” or “very” concerned that many will lose health insurance if the health overhaul is repealed. That includes more than 8 in 10 Democrats, nearly half of independents, and more than 1 in 5 Republicans. Another 45 percent of Republicans say they’re “somewhat” concerned.

“No one should go without health care for even a day,” said Wendy Narug of DeMotte, Indiana, a small town south of Gary. A political independent who leans Republican, Narug works caring for people with disabilities. She favors repealing the Affordable Care Act, but not until Congress and President Donald Trump have a replacement ready.

Released Friday, the poll serves as a reality check for Republicans as they try to find a path to repealing and replacing former President Barack Obama‘s signature legislation. It found that even as few Americans want to keep the health law in its current form, many provisions enjoy broad popularity. The exception: the law’s requirement that most Americans carry health insurance or face fines.

“They should come up with something that’s a little easier and more affordable for everyone,” said Narug. “Some people have to pay hundreds of dollars just to go to their doctors.”

The health law offers subsidized private insurance for those who don’t have job-based coverage, along with a state option to expand Medicaid for low-income people. About 20 million people have gained coverage since it passed. Employer coverage has also increased, but experts credit the law for the vast majority of the gains. Some 28 million people remain uninsured.

Trump has said he wants to replace “Obamacare” with a plan that provides insurance for everybody and lowers deductibles. But his pick for health secretary recently cast doubt on the notion that a Trump administration replacement is ready to go. Questions remained after Trump attended the GOP congressional retreat in Philadelphia this week.

Overall, Americans remain divided, with 53 percent wanting to keep the law in some form, and 46 percent favoring its repeal.

Most of those who favor repeal say that should happen only when a replacement is ready. And most of those who want to keep the law say changes are needed. Among those who favor keeping it, only 1 in 4 think it should remain unchanged.

“If the Affordable Care Act was affordable, I would have no problems with it,” said Kevin Wollersheim, a delivery truck driver from the Minneapolis suburb of Hopkins. “Costs were supposed to go down, or at least not go up at such a high rate.”

Wollersheim is uninsured and expects he’ll have to pay about $200 in fines at tax time for failing to comply with the law’s coverage requirement. He said he didn’t even bother to look this year because premiums on Minnesota’s individual insurance market jumped by 50 percent and more.

That coverage requirement – known as the individual mandate – is a top target for Trump and GOP lawmakers.

The poll found that only about 1 in 3 support it, while just over half are opposed. Among Republicans, opposition rises to nearly 3 in 4.

“Don’t fine people; just make it affordable,” said Madlyen Sharp, a retired factory worker from West Plains, Mo., near the Ozarks.

The requirement was modeled on one that former GOP Gov. Mitt Romney signed into law in Massachusetts in 2006, designed to get healthy people into the insurance pool and help control premiums. At the federal level, it narrowly survived a Supreme Court challenge in 2012.

Although the Obama administration argued that the mandate was essential for stable insurance markets, the main insurance industry trade group recently told Congress there are other workable alternatives. Trump’s executive order on health care opened the way for broader “hardship” exemptions.

Other major provisions of the health care law fared far better in the poll. They included elimination of out-of-pocket costs for preventive care (favored by 77 percent), allowing young adults to stay on parental plans until age 26 (73 percent), forbidding insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing health problems (69 percent), and the Medicaid expansion (66 percent). The first three are favored even by most of those who would get rid of the law.

Although Trump and other Republicans have made it seem like “repeal and replace” would be an easy matter, many Americans seem to question that.

“Obamacare” is like “a 1,500-foot battleship driving along,” said Michael Wolski of Lakeland, Fla., who administers a homeless shelter. “The infrastructure has already been changed. It’s already in place. (Trump) can’t just rescind it. And what’s he going to replace it with?”

The AP-NORC poll of 1,036 adults was conducted Jan. 12-16, using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Rick Scott: Obamacare expanded the welfare state

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who has asserted that he is helping President Donald Trump work on a replacement for “Obamacare,” made his feelings known about the Affordable Care Act again on Friday.

In an editorial on CNN‘s website, Scott made a number of points.

Among them, that the Affordable Care Act was nothing more than an expansion of the welfare state, and an usurpation of state’s rights when it comes to handling Medicaid.

“With Obamacare,” Scott writes, “President Obama enacted a massive expansion of the welfare state. And, not surprisingly, Obamacare has resulted in widespread increases in premiums and costs are expected to continue increasing.”

Scott’s preferred option — and likely the one the Trump administration will land on — block grants to the states for low-income health care.

“States can do a far better job administering the Medicaid program than the federal government can. If Florida is given the flexibility to run our own Medicaid program, we will be more efficient and less wasteful than the federal government,” Scott notes.

“Liberal Democrats,” asserts Gov. Scott, “have a game plan for America: everything for free, provided by the government, paid for with your tax dollars. There is a name for this approach, and it is called socialism. President Obama gave it a try, and in the process he proved what we already knew — it does not work.”

“Government assistance must be the last resort,” Scott adds, “not the first stop. This is no time for Republicans to go wobbly or get weak in the knees about repealing Obamacare. If we refuse to roll back the welfare state, what real purpose do we serve?”

With many people expecting Scott, termed out next year, to challenge Democrat Bill Nelson for his Senate seat, an oped like this serves multiple purposes.

It reminds national conservatives that, when it came to Medicaid expansion, the governor fought Washington and won.

It allows the governor to frame the current debate around what he has accomplished in Florida.

And, most importantly, it provides a framework for what might come out of Washington this year regarding reform of the current health care schematic.

Expect more op-eds like this in the weeks ahead.

Daniel Webster: Congress will not pull rug out on health care coverage

Whether or not congressional Republicans have a plan to replace Obamacare they are beginning to respond to voters concerns about lost coverage, and U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster has told his that “we do not intend to pull the rug out.”

In his newsletter to constituents of Florida’s 11th Congressional District, which includes much of Lake County and north Central Florida to the Gulf Coast, Webster pressed his assurances that the Affordable Care Act could be replaced.

He also made clear the laundry list of concerns that he and many other Republicans have been trying to raise for seven years, with a survey for his constituents, seeking responses.

“The House is working on a plan to provide Americans with the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at a price they can afford. We do not intend to pull the rug of coverage and care out from underneath anyone,” Webster insisted in a newsletter he sent out Tuesday night.

He asked voters to respond to him if they have experienced any of the following:

– An increase in premium costs.

– Lost health care coverage or reduction in plan benefits.

– Denied opportunity to get care from the doctor of choice.

– Increase in out of pocket expenses.

– Cut in work hours because an employer couldn’t afford to provide healthcare.

– The need to get a second or third job because work hours were cut.

– The need to adjust hiring practices because of the 30 hour “full time” standard.

He did not ask any constituents to respond about any potential positives in the ACA, such as if they were able to afford health care coverage for the first time, or if their Obamacare plan had provided them with valuable health care coverage they would not have had before the law was enacted.

A look at Obama’s legacy, foolish hope of ‘post-racial’ America

(Part 1 of two. Part two will deal with Obama’s political legacy)

The 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama focused on the theme of change. Obama promised to “restore our moral standing” and “focus on nation-building here at home.”

Obama, as a candidate, told audiences that “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek.” “Yes, we can” and “change you can believe in” became the campaign themes.

Obama promised to “make government cool again.” This would be achieved by an activist, expanding federal government. Obama seemed to be contradicting the message of the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, who argued that “the era of big government is over.”

Although Obama viewed himself as a transformative president, much of his first year in office was spent stabilizing America’s collapsing economy and avoiding another Great Depression.

America was losing 700,000 to 800,000 a month with no let up in sight. Major banks and Wall Street brokers were declaring bankruptcy, and the American auto industry was on the verge of collapse.

If nothing else, Obama deserves credit for stabilizing the economy. His action plan included an unpopular stimulus program, a bailout of the auto industry that some described as socialism, and shoring up the big banks that were responsible for much of the economic instability with their risky loans.

As a result of President Obama’s efforts, an economic catastrophe was avoided. We have had eight consecutive years of economic growth, although critics pointed out the less than 3 percent growth rate was low. The economic programs, in part, lead to an 88 percent increase in the national debt and the loss of the United States AAA bond rating.

“Obamacare,” or the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was the primary domestic accomplishment of the Obama presidency. Young individuals could remain on their parent’s insurance until age 26, preexisting conditions would not disqualify you from coverage and 20 million more Americans received health care coverage.

The ACA was not without its critics. The plan did not control health care costs as promised, and Obama’s promise to Americans that “if you like your doctors, you can keep them” and “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it” proved not to be true. In fact, Politics-Fact labeled those promises the “lie of the year.”

The ACA was narrowly passed without a single Republican vote. That does not bode well for its long-term success. Major public policy change in the United States, to succeed, needs to be comfortably passed with bipartisan support. Civil rights legislation and Medicare are just two examples of that.

Democrats contend that Republicans were not going to vote for the ACA and give Obama a major political victory. Republicans argued that the president made no attempt to reach out to them and find common ground. The president has many tools available to curry support, most importantly, the power of persuasion. For whatever reason, the goal seemed to pass the ACA with or without Republican votes.

The election of Donald Trump now jeopardizes the ACA. Republicans must realize that if they attempt to “repeal and replace” Obamacare without Democratic support, their plan will fail just as Obama’s plan is likely to fail.

Obama, the nation’s first African-American president, was supposed to lead to a “post-racial America.” That was a foolish and unrealistic expectation.

During the 2008 campaign, Obama gave a speech on race in Philadelphia in an attempt to counter the negative public reaction to statements from Jeremiah Wright, the president’s longtime friend and minister. Wright attacked racism in America in many of his talks. The most explosive comment found Wright stating: “Not God bless America. God damn America!”

In his address on race, Obama said Wright was correct in talking about racism but wrong in speaking “as if no progress had been made.”

Almost as soon as he assumed the presidency, Obama dealt with one racial issue after another. In 2009, Obama said a police officer “acted stupidly” when he arrested Henry Louis Gates, a prominent black Harvard professor when Gates entered his home through a window after forgetting his house key. Obama quickly held a “beer summit,” inviting both Gates and the police officer to talk through their dispute.

In 2012, the nation was divided when a white neighborhood watch volunteer shot and killed a young black male named Trayvon Martin. Obama told reporters that “if I had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin.” The white shooter was found not guilty.

A police shooting of another black teen in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 led to criticism of Obama by both whites and blacks. Whites attacked the president for criticizing the police in “using excessive force” against protestors who were “lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.” Blacks criticized the president for stating that there is “no excuse for violence against the police” or “those who would use this tragedy to cover for vandalism or looting.”

 In 2015, the nation was shocked by the brutal murder of nine black parishioners in Charleston, South Carolina by Dylann Roof, a young white male who had been invited to join the Bible study. The nation saw the moving acts of forgiveness as one relative after another of the victims said they forgave him. This act of grace led President Obama to conclude his remarks at the church by singing Amazing Grace.

Obama was widely criticized for his foreign policy actions or inactions. Critics blamed the early exit if American forces from Iraq as creating a vacuum which allowed ISIS to emerge. His nuclear pact with Iran was criticized by Republicans, the military, Israel and others who saw the act as creating a nuclear-armed Iran in the Middle East. The president’s failure to enforce his “red line” in Syria if chemical weapons were used by Bashar al-Assad, created an inroad for both ISIS and the Soviets to expand their role.

Like all presidents, Obama has a mixed bag of successes and failures as president. In his own analysis of his presidency, Obama praised his administration for stopping the economic crisis, saving the auto industry, creating the longest stretch of job creation, opening relations with Cuba, shutting down Iran’s nuclear program, passing national health insurance and securing marriage equality. “America is a better, stronger place than it was when we started.”

During the 2016 campaign, Obama stated: “My legacy is on the line.” By that standard, the public decided they wanted to move in another direction.

___

Darryl Paulson is Emeritus Professor of Government at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

Charlie Crist calls GOP Obamacare repeal without replacement ‘unacceptable’

With the Affordable Care Act — aka Obamacare — already beginning to be phased out by Republicans in Washington this month, congressional Democrats took to the streets in Florida and around the country Sunday afternoon.

Congressional representatives held rallies and press events featuring regular citizens whose lives have benefited by Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

In South St. Petersburg, Charlie Crist held his own event, where he blasted congressional Republicans for having nearly seven years to provide an alternative to the ACA without doing so yet.

“In Washington D.C. I will do everything I can to prevent that from happening,” he said of the plans to repeal and replace.

And while that comment drew cheers from his supporters at the news conference held outside of Advantage Insurance Solutions on 22nd Street South, the fact is in the House at least, Republicans don’t necessarily need any Democrats to help them pass an alternative plan after they repeal the ACA.

“I think we need to keep it the way it is and try to improve it,” Crist said when asked if he would work with Republicans on a replacement.

“There are things that can be better about this act, no question about it,” he admitted, referring to ways to keep costs from escalating. But he said that repealing provisions of the law such as removing the ban on insurance companies being able to deny patients with pre-existing conditions was morally wrong.

“It would have to be something like Obamacare,” he said when asked by another reporter about what type of alternative he could stand behind. But the freshman Representative admitted that would be “challenging” considering that Republicans ran this fall on a platform of dismantling Obamacare.

“But anything worthwhile is not easy,” he said. “Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not worth fighting for.”

Terry Donald is the owner of We Haul Florida, a hauling and cleanup service in Pinellas County.  He calls his family’s health history “a nightmare” with high blood pressure and heart disease present in several members of his clan. He related an anecdote about how he received a staph infection after cutting his leg while mowing his lawn. “Had I not sought treatment, I would have lost my life,” he said starkly, referring to how he was treated by his doctors with an aggressive course of IV antibiotics.

“People ask me why this coverage is so important and I tell them I had insurance,” he said. “I knew it would be covered. I knew I wouldn’t go bankrupt for receiving the care that I needed.”

Gloria Campbell writes insurance policies as the owner of Advantage Insurance Solutions. She says before the creation of the ACA, nine out of 10 health insurance policies that she drew up for her clients were rejected because of her client’s pre-existing health conditions, or their families’ poor medical history.

Campbell says many of those people now on the ACA had never previously seen a doctor because they didn’t know how insurance worked.

“Now they own their own health care,” she said. “They talk about what kind of outcomes they want. Now people don’t rely on getting sick, they rely on staying well.”

“We have the technology to restart a heart, to 3D print organs and tissue, to save people from Ebola, but we lack the moral fiber and legislative stones to ensure that the American taxpayer doesn’t face lifelong financial ruin for the crime of surviving,” charged Jhavavi Pathak, who currently attends MIT and is the founder of The War on Cancer Foundation.

She told the story of her father, Yogesh, who in 2004 was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney cancer which ultimately spread to his spleen, pancreas, lungs, leg, brain and skull. He’s had 14 major surgeries, including four on his brain, and is somewhat miraculously still alive. In the fall of 2013, he signed up to get on the ACA. “Every one of us is a single mishap or accident away from lifelong financial ruin,” she declared.

“It used to be people didn’t survive a serious medical issue,” Pathak said. “We just didn’t have the medical treatments or the scientific know-how. But now in 21st Century America, people simply can’t afford to survive a serious medical attention.”

While she and the other public speakers blasted the GOP for not having a replacement plan ready to insert as they begin to repeal the law, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul announced Sunday that he does have a replacement ready to go.

“Replacement should be the same day,” Paul said on CNN’s State of The Union, reiterating his critique of fellow congressional Republicans’ “repeal and delay” idea. “Our goal is to insure the most amount of people, give access to the most amount of people at the least amount of cost.”

Paul praised the good intentions of the designers of the Affordable Care Act but said it includes too many mandates and has “broken the insurance model” in the individual market. Among other changes, his plan would remove some insurance coverage mandates that drive up premium costs to “legalize the sale of inexpensive insurance.”

 

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons