Las Vegas Sun

July 7, 2015

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SUN EDITORIAL:

Voting on nonsense

Republicans should confront real issues rather than repeal sound reform

House Republicans are expected to approve the inanely titled “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.” It is a futile and foolish act because it will be defeated by Senate Democrats who have the common sense to realize that this country had a broken health care insurance system that was badly in need of reform.

The bill’s title not only confirms the immaturity of the new Republican majority but it is also a flat-out lie not supported by any facts. It is simply the latest in a long line of scare tactics, topped by the spurious claim the law would create “death panels,” that have been employed by Republicans who apparently want to make it as difficult as possible for tens of millions of Americans to access medical care.

An analysis released Tuesday by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius found that as many as 129 million Americans with pre-existing medical conditions could be denied health care coverage if the reform known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act were to be repealed.

As Sebelius aptly stated: “The Affordable Care Act is stopping insurance companies from discriminating against Americans with pre-existing conditions and is giving us all more freedom and control over our health care decisions. The new law is already helping to free Americans from the fear that an insurer will drop, limit or cap their coverage when they need it most.”

There’s no evidence that the health care law will “kill” jobs. In fact, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat, correctly points out that an increasing number of small businesses are taking advantage of tax credits in the law to offset the cost of providing health benefits to workers. Reid was also on the mark when he said that repeal of the law would take away free preventive care for seniors and would bring back the Medicare donut hole that would force elderly recipients to pay more for prescription drugs.

Let’s not forget the conclusion from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which reported last month that the law will reduce the federal budget deficit by $143 billion by 2019. It is difficult to make sense of Tea Party adherents who would vote to repeal this law when they also claim to be in favor of reducing the nation’s deficit.

House Republicans have also painted themselves into a corner because they vowed to make budget cuts for any legislation that adds to the deficit. That means they should have told the American people what they will cut in exchange for voting to eliminate health care reform. Well, it didn’t take the Republicans too long to break that vow. They conveniently decided the vote to repeal health care would be an exception to the rule. So much for their campaign promises.

Republicans are demonstrating that they couldn’t care less whether consumers are denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions or don’t have freedom and control over their health care. The House majority is also setting out to prove that they would rather waste time on empty legislation than confront the real issues facing this nation.

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