If United States health care is “already the finest… in the world,” why then do we have 30 million still uninsured, why is ours the most expensive, and why are the outcomes worse than those in many other countries?
The answer is simple–our health care system clearly needs reform. Instead of facing the truth, conservatives like Senator Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner are attempting to put the brakes on progress without offering a viable alternative.
From The Huffington Post
Mitch McConnell On 30 Million Uninsured: ‘That Is Not The Issue’
By Arthur Delaney
WASHINGTON — Republicans have said repeatedly that the landmark health care reform law, upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court last week, must be repealed and replaced. But the GOP leader in the U.S. Senate gave a surprising answer on “Fox News Sunday” when asked how Republicans would provide health care coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans.
“That is not the issue,” Sen. Mitch McConnell said. “The question is how to go step by step to improve the American health care system. It is already the finest health care system in the world.”
“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace interrupted, “You don’t think 30 million uninsured is an issue?”
“We’re not going to turn the American health care system into a western European system,” McConnell said. “That’s exactly what is at the heart of Obamacare. They want to … have the federal government take over all American health care. The federal government can’t handle Medicare or Medicaid.”
Wallace pressed McConnell, noting that the Affordable Care Act will prohibit insurance companies from not offering plans to individuals with pre-existing health conditions. “If you repeal Obamacare, how will you protect those people with pre-existing conditions?”
“Over the half of the states have high-risk pools that deal with that issue,” McConnell said, assuring Wallace that the state programs could cover the tens of millions of uninsured Americans who have pre-existing health conditions.
Thirty-five states now have high-risk pools, covering about 208,000 people. Those policies are open to individuals with pre-existing health issues but often come with high premiums, waiting periods and coverage exclusions for certain conditions.
The Affordable Care Act included a new federal high-risk pool (modeled on the state plans) called the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. So far, only 67,000 Americans have enrolled. The program will be phased out in 2014 when the law’s broader provisions kick in.
Don Stewart, a spokesman for McConnell, offered some additional information about Senate Republican leader’s position on health care insurance.
“If you watched the interview, it was clear that the Leader believes we need to focus on lowering costs, first and foremost,” Stewart said in an email. “That is the best way to help the 250 million Americans who have insurance today, and to help the 47 million who do not. We need to make it affordable, but Obamacare — in its rush to expand coverage to everyone — actually drives up health care costs by $300 billion. If health care is more affordable, more of the uninsured can find coverage.”
There are as many as 25 million Americans who lack insurance and have pre-existing conditions, and all together 50 million people are uninsured, according to government estimates. The White House expects 30 million Americans to gain insurance coverage as a result of the new law.
Norah O’Donnell Hammers John Boehner: ‘When You Repeal [Obamacare], What Are You Going To Replace It With?’
by Josh Feldman
CBS News correspondent Norah O’Donnell faced off with House Speaker John Boehner in a contentious interview that focused on the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act and what the Republicans’ alternatives are. O’Donnell repeatedly pushed Boehner to say specifically what he likes and dislikes about the law, and asking him point-blank, “when you repeal it, what are you going to replace it with?”
Boehner said that the notion of government being able to mandate that Americans have to buy a product is “shocking,” but conceded that he respects the decision of the Supreme Court. On a more optimistic note, he says that at least the ruling has given new life to Republican efforts to get the law repealed once and for all. O’Donnell said that so far, Congress has voted 30 times to repeal Obamacare (a figure Boehner himself cites on his website). She asked him, “What’s one more vote going to do? What’s the point?”
Boehner explained he wants to be able to show the American people the Republican party is fully committed to repealing the law. And while it may have been ruled constitutional, Boehner pointed out, the Supreme Court decision never said if it was a good law or not. O’Donnell asked if there was anything good about the law. Boehner admitted there are good parts of it, which O’Donnell honed in on to ask the Speaker specifically what he would keep and what he would cut.
O’Donnell brought up provisions included in the bill like free mammograms provided under Medicare and staying on your parents’ insurance until you turn 26, the latter of which Boehner affirmed his support for. When O’Donnell tried to press him further, Boehner insisted all the Republicans would do is take a “common-sense, step-by-step approach to replacing this law.” As for the issue of preexisting conditions, Boehner echoed what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Fox News Sunday, that state-by-state high risk polls are a preferable alternative to how it is done in the current law.
Trying once again to push Boehner into getting specific, O’Donnell asked him, “when you repeal this, what are you going to replace it with?”
Boehner went back to insisting on a “common-sense” approach, and claimed that the Affordable Care Act is driving up health care costs all over the country and making it harder for small business to hire workers. O’Donnell asked Boehner to elaborate on the second point, to which the Speaker said they’re being “required to [either] buy health insurance or pay a fine.” He quickly corrected himself by saying it’s apparently a tax now.
After a back-and-forth on just exactly how the law affects small businesses, O’Donnell called Boehner out for not being specific enough with his answers.
“When I talked about some of the specific provisions, you said you want a common-sense approach, but why not be specific about exactly what kind of protections you want to provide individuals? You won’t be specific. Why won’t you say you won’t prevent discrimination against preexisting conditions?”
Boehner went down a list of other specific issues he thinks were not properly addressed by the Affordable Care Act, including medical malpractice reform. O’Donnell told Boehner that if there are some parts of the law that he likes, why can’t he just work together with the president on health care reform instead of pushing for repeal. Boehner insisted that in order for real reform, the current law needs to be “ripped out by its roots” and Congress should start over.
Watch the video below, courtesy of CBS: