July 1, 2012

More from House Speaker John Boehner's appearance on Face the Nation earlier Sunday: CBS Chief White House correspondent Nora O'Donnell asked the GOP Speaker of the House John Boehner, "What about pre-existing conditions? What about the millions of Americans that have pre-existing conditions and are discriminated against?"

"We believe that the way it is done within Obamacare is pushing the cost of health insurance for all Americans much too high," Boehner explains. "We believe that the state high-risk pools are a much more effective way to make sure that those with pre-existing have access to affordable health insurance."

"Access" to affordable health insurance," O'Donnell repeats, "You're not saying that you would be for a law that would prevent discrimination against those individuals?"

"No," states Boehner flatly, "We just believe there's a better way to make sure that they have affordable access to quality health insurance."

"So, when you repeal this (Affordable Care Act), what are you going to replace it with?" O'Donnell queries.

And with a twinkle in his eyes, Boehner responds "I just started pointing it out."

Okay, first issue: "Obamacare" pushing the cost of health insurance for all too high? Forbes reports:

I don’t know all the minute details of the tax penalties the government will implement against those who do not have health insurance, but I do know one thing. The health insurance companies absolutely love this law. They just got a guaranteed customer base of at least 50 million. And guess what? Premiums will come down because of it. Under ObamaCare, your monthly health insurance premiums will now be affordable. I have no idea how people can claim that health insurers will suffer.

I live in Massachusetts. And here in Massachusetts, we live under the predecessor of ObamaCare — the Massachusetts Healthcare Reform Act, signed into law by former governor Mitt Romney in 2006. Under RomneyCare, as Rick Santorum supporters called it during the primaries, 98 percent of the state’s residents have affordable health insurance. Meanwhile, Massachusetts has not gone broke. It’s unemployment level is 6 percent this month, falling from 6.3 percent in April and better than the national average of 8.3 percent. No one is even considering overturning the 2006 law, sources from Blue Cross Blue Shield told me earlier this year. Mike Widmer, president of the non-partisan Massachusetts Taxpayers Association, told me the same thing when I was covering the New Hampshire primaries for Forbes. Companies are not going belly up because of RomneyCare. Private insurers operate in the state along side the non-profit health insurers like Harvard Pilgrim and Blue Cross Blue Shield. There have not been massive layoffs in the industry because of the law.

Over the five full fiscal years since the law’s enactment, the state has spent $91 million a year, well within the budgeted expectations. RomneyCare is not a budget buster, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation says.

Next issue, the state high-risk pools: Boehner claims the state high-risk pools would be more effective at dealing with patients with pre-existing conditions. Really? The Washington Post reported:

Some governors said they were unwilling to take on the task because it appears that Congress has allocated too little money.
The states that declined to administer risk pools are Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming, according HHS.

Governors of 16 out of 18 states declining to provide high-risk insurance pools for people with pre-existing conditions are Republicans, and they say that Congress wasn't allocating enough funds.

The Affordable Care Act that Speaker Boehner wants to "Rip out by its Roots," guarantees health insurance coverage for persons with pre-existing conditions, among other things. The House Republicans will not support a law that would prevent insurance companies from discriminating against patients who have pre-existing conditions, and the only other option they have for you (high-risk pools) are not supported by 18 states who say that Congress doesn't allocate enough funding.

Thirty times the Republicans have tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Your tax dollars have paid them to waste time doing so, while they enjoy the finest government-run health insurance that your money can buy. Tell John Boehner it's time to stop playing politics with people's lives and leave healthcare reform alone, and ask him where the jobs are, while you're at it.

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