Republican in the U.S. House have voted to repeal a health care law, meeting a campaign promise. The vote is more symbolic than substantial since President Obama and the Senate are unlikely to support the efforts. Republicans have also said they intend to defund major portions of the law with the hopes of stifling the effects of the new law.
Democrats are arguing that repealing the law will harm low income and others who benefit from the changes to the health care system that occurred under the law.
I gathered many of the statements released by the members of Minnesota’s delegation.
Here’s a statement from GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann:
“Obamacare, as we know, is the crown jewel of socialism. It is socialized medicine.
“The American people spoke soundly and clearly at the ballot box in November and they said to us, Mr. Speaker, in no uncertain terms, ‘Repeal this bill.’ So today this body will cast a vote to repeal Obamacare. And to those across the United States who think this may be a symbolic act, we have a message for them: this is not symbolic. This is why we were sent here and we will not stop until we repeal a President and put a President in the White House who will repeal this bill, until we repeal the current Senate, put in a Senate that will listen to the American people and repeal this bill.
Here’s a statement from DFL Rep. Keith Ellison:
Protecting every American’s right to quality health care and a living wage job must be priority number one for this Congress. Sadly, today, the new Republican House of Representatives passed its first significant piece of legislation. It was not a bill designed to deal with the wave of home foreclosures devastating our communities or to put the millions of unemployed Americans back to work. Instead, the first priority of the new Republican majority was to take health care away from millions of Americans.
Obviously, Congressional Republicans have a different agenda. Repealing the health reform law and enacting the Republican “No Care/No Jobs” bill means dumping 32 million Americans from health coverage – including almost 12,000 young adults in Minnesota. Additionally, this “No Care/No Jobs” bill adds another $230 billion to our federal budget deficit.
Rather than combating near 10 percent unemployment nationwide, the top Republican priority is to deny millions of Americans health care and to side with health insurance companies over working Americans.
Denying health care to millions of Americans doesn’t create jobs. The American people deserve better from their elected leaders.
Here’s a statement from GOP Rep. John Kline:
“For 20 consecutive months more than 14 million Americans have been unemployed. As much as we would like to solve this problem, the federal government cannot legislate or regulate our way to job creation. We can, however, foster economic certainty that will encourage families, businesses, and entrepreneurs to spend, hire, and invest. And that is what we will try to do today.
“Almost one year ago Democrats launched a nearly $1 trillion government takeover of health care that increases national health care spending by $311 billion over 10 years and levies more than $500 billion in new taxes on individuals, consumers, and businesses. The 2,700 page law has led to more than 4,000 pages in new rules and regulations – and the law is only 10 months old. The uncertainty of what this all means for individuals and businesses today – and in the months and years to come – is having a chilling effect on the country’s job creators.
“A number of provisions in the law will undermine job creation and economic growth, but perhaps none is as alarming as the employer mandate. For the first time in the nation’s history, employers with more than 50 workers are required to provide government-approved health care coverage. Those who do not, or cannot afford to, will be forced to pay a $2,000 penalty for every worker beyond the first 30.
“If you are a small business owner with 50 workers and you cannot afford to provide government-approved health insurance for your workers, adding one additional employee to the payroll will result in a $42,000 penalty.
“Some refer to the employer mandate as “shared sacrifice.” They argue that expanding coverage to every individual means everyone must pay. But the cost of this provision will result in more than lost dollars and cents. Hiring new workers will be more expensive, creating a disincentive for job-creators to put Americans back to work.
DFL Rep. Betty McCollum ripped the vote in an e-mail to supporters:
I believe health care should be a right for all Americans, not a luxury or a privilege available for only the most fortunate. Democrats – without the help of a single Republican – passed a historic health care reform law in 2010 that took unprecedented steps towards making health care access a right. Protections that make patient care our top priority, not insurance company profits, are now the law of the land because of the Affordable Care Act.
Today the Tea Party Republicans in the U.S. House voted in lockstep, passing H.R. 2, to repeal health reform and the new patient rights that are saving lives and protecting families. The Republican plan to strip away protections for children, seniors, and adults with pre-existing medical conditions will be replaced with a uniquely Republican solution – NOTHING! Republicans want to repeal health reform and restore the same broken system that protects insurance company profits – not people.
Many are calling this repeal vote a political stunt. I disagree. This is the first salvo in a two year battle to defeat Democrats – take the White House and Congress in 2012 – and kill health care reform. Democrats and all Americans cannot be silent or passive. We need to fight for our rights and fight to defend this health care reform law we all worked so hard to pass.
I voted today against the Tea Party Republican health care repeal agenda and I will not stop fighting for quality, affordable health care for all Americans.
GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack released this statement:
“I agree all Minnesotans should have access to high quality, affordable health care,” Cravaack said. “However, I do not support the increased regulation, taxation and government interference found in the 2,400 page, $1 trillion legislation President Obama signed into law last year. The country can’t afford it, and it serves as a massive over-reach on behalf of the federal government. Minnesotans and all Americans deserve better than the loop-hole filled, back-door negotiated, special interest bill they got.”
“Fortunately, this will not be the only vote I take on health care,” Cravaack added. “Now that the House has voted to repeal Obamacare, I intend to work to ensure it is replaced with legislation that expands the accessibility of coverage, lowers costs and focuses on the quality of patient care – without laying the bill at the feet of Minnesota taxpayers and future generations of Americans. We can do much better, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass legislation that offers positive solutions to the many serious problems found in the current law.”
Here’s a statement from DFL Rep. Tim Walz:
“Repealing the Affordable Care Act will eliminate consumer protections, put insurance companies between you and your doctors, raise taxes on small businesses, and explode the deficit. It will be bad for our economy and jobs in places like southern Minnesota that have a robust health care industry.
Southern Minnesotans are already seeing benefits from this new law. Seniors have received help paying for their expensive prescription drugs and have better access to preventative care.
And just a few weeks ago, I received a letter from a dad in southern Minnesota named Paul. Paul’s son Joe is 21 years old, works part time and has Type II diabetes. Joe couldn’t get the insurance he needed to pay for the expensive equipment and treatment he needs. But because of the new law we passed, Joe was able to get back on his parent’s insurance and his new insurance card came a couple of weeks ago in the mail. A vote to repeal this legislation is a vote to tear that insurance card out of Joe’s hand and so I voted against it.”
Here’s a statement from GOP Erik Paulsen:
“Last Congress, Democratic Leadership passed the health care law to figure out what was in it, and what we found wasn’t good; a laundry list of tax hikes, massive spending sprees and job-crushing government mandates,” said Rep. Paulsen. “Repeal is the first step in bringing meaningful, affordable and patient-centered health care reform for all Americans in an open and transparent manner.”
“Now we have an opportunity to get it right and provide common-sense reforms that lower healthcare costs, protect the doctor-patient relationship, and provide small businesses with certainty to hire new employees and get our economy back on track. The repeal today will also stop a $20 billion tax burden on the life-saving medical device industry, a burden that falls on the hundreds on medical technology companies that reside in my district.”
Here’s a statement from DFL Sen. Al Franken:
“Minnesota families and businesses have already started to feel the direct benefits of the health care law.” said Sen. Franken. “This law already has done a lot of good for a lot of people: it’s eliminated lifetime caps on insurance, given kids the ability to stay on their parents’ plans until they’re 26, closed the prescription drug ‘doughnut hole’ for our seniors, and prevented insurance companies from denying children coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Beyond that, it cuts the deficit and allows more small businesses to cover their employees because of the tax credits the law provides.”