Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Repealing the Health Care Reform Law in the House: A Strategic Republican Mistake?

On a vote of 51 to 47, Senate Democrats put the final nail in the Republican’s Coffin of wanting to repeal the Affordable Health Care Reform Law. When House Republicans bound together to advance their desire to repeal the Affordable Health Care Law last month, all of them thought their party was up to something; or, so it seemed. Many Democrats worked so hard in the house to convince their counterparts that the fight was not worth the effort, but the Republicans refused and imagined it will be possible to overturn the mammoth effort of Democrats and their leader, that had delivered the most progressive reform to the American Health Care System in half a Century.

In a unanimous opposition to the repeal, all the fifty Democrats and one independent present at the voting tonight affirmed their party’s conviction and commitment to a reformed system, that will not deny health insurance to children with leukemia and multiple sclerosis, because they have pre-existing condition. If Republicans were not aware, children with these types of horrendous and dilapidating diseases are among the groups they were working against when they sought to repeal the Affordable Health Care Reform Law of 2010 in their latest effort.

Even, if Republicans had a strategic plan to introduce some reform, they are better served by attempting to improve the existing law rather than repeal it. This is probably the reason why a separate health-care amendment offered by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) sailed through the Senate with bipartisan support. The small business group interest call to repeal tax-reporting provision in the law was passed on an 81-to-17 vote. Another amendment offered to the law failed because it lacked merit and because it was strategically attached to an unrelated bill. Enough of the gimmickry Republicans! When and where there are needs for genuine amendments, let’s work together to achieve them; however, none of those grand standing, cowboy gun-toting, we are going to shoot the bird down dream, anymore!

The rest of the blog tonight contemplates the human angle of repealing the health care reform law and why many supporters of the law are gong-ho against any attempt to repeal the law. The excruciating pain of a parent seeking extended care for a sick child and the denial of health insurance coverage by insurance executives for doctor's recommended treatment(s), including unilateral decision to cap ceiling on treatment cost of care, make any effort by anyone to repeal the Affordable Health Care Law 2010, untenable. For the first time, a law that prevents insurance companies from having artificial life time treatment costs' ceiling or boundaries, is now part of the package or instrument for underwriting health care insurance to millions of Americans. The affordable health care law ensures that Americans can get the care they badly need at a reasonable cost and with options of insurance coverage, through the creation of an exchange. To fight this type of law is tantamount to abridging the liberty of the people and is an affront on American Democracy. This law is all we've got for now, to ensure that some of our badly sick kids get the care they deserve. Republicans, its time to back off!

To understand why supporters of the law are crying foul, as they are doing, the former status quo, which we would have reverted, if the health care reform law of 2010 was repealed, with the uncertainty over whether Republicans actually have a viable alternative to substitute for the law, one would need to be in the shoes of some parents nursing a child with any of those fatal diseases, rather than wishing things away by depending on a Republican promise. For many, promises from Republicans to introduce another bill to replace the current law, seems more of a ploy to attack the current President's initiative to do something about the broken health care system when he took office. It is rather a mirage to believe that repealing the law will do anyone in the nation any good. According to the leukemia & Lymphoma Society: “An estimated 259,889 people in the United States are living with, or are in remission from, leukemia. An estimated 43,050 new cases of leukemia will be diagnosed in the United States in 2010. Chronic leukemias account for 11 percent more cases than acute leukemias. Most cases occur in older adults; the median patient age at diagnosis is 66 years. Leukemia is expected to strike more than 10 times as many adults as children in 2010. (About 39,733 adults compared with 3,317 children, aged 0-14 years). About 31 percent of cancers in children aged 0-14 years are leukemia. The most common cancer in children 1 to 7 years old is acute lymphocytic leukemia (”

With raw statistics as these from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, insurance companies have the laxity to deny these groups of people health insurance coverage because of pre-existing conditions, under the former health care system or dispensation. It just seems unfathomable that any lawmaker will be seeking to repeal a law that accommodates these human frailties, especially among the most vulnerable in our society. The risky promise that Republicans have a health care reform bill that will address the concerns of many vulnerable groups amidst us, who are currently claiming the promise of the Affordable Health Care Reform Law, is hardly believable at this time. The hateful chain of brouhaha going on in Congress among Republicans against the health care reform law, sometimes make many wonder about the true meaning of lawmaking; and, how legislators go about serving the interest of the people. We can hardly understand why Republicans want to repeal the law, when they can offer amendments to re-shape the provisions in the law.

Republicans had imagined associating the health care reform law with job loss or as Republicans called it, ‘a job killing law’, was the quickest way to get momentum behind their efforts to repeal the law. Their advocacy and chances of winning enough fellowship behind their effort was daunted immediately John Boehner began to read too much into the November election results. His claim to a mandate from the people to repeal the health care reform law and his highly publicized drive to stop Democrats at all cost on this one, was probably tempered with the vote in Senate tonight. With the solid vote from all Democratic Senators on the floor, fifty of them and one independent, Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) were not present, a tall and permanent nail has been driven into the coffin of the exclusionary dream of Republicans to repeal the law.

The discussion on repealing the law is now dead, except Republicans are deaf-tone. As the result of the voting in Senate has demonstrated, including some other amendments that failed, it is all but certain that we will not hear the huge shouting from the Republicans anymore. With the voting results tonight, we can now assume that the Republican's desire to halt the implementation of the law by siphoning or tightening funds needed to implement provisions in the law will come to an end. There are lots of good in the Affordable Health Care Reform Law of 2010; and, there is no need for Republicans to be bent out of shape over the desire to repeal the law. The introduction of a bill to repeal the law threatened not only the implementation of the provisions in the law, it looked much like a looser to the insurance industry that had invested a lot on implementing part(s) of the provisions of the law. It was clear that many insurance executives were not in favor of complete repeal of the law. The Pharmaceutics and hospital industries were not far behind on a disagreement with repealing the law, but had held their peace, knowing fully well that change had finally come to their industries and they had very little influence at this stage.

Welcome to a new day in America's Health Care System. May the Force be with you all!

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