Charges And Counter-Charges On Health Law Infiltrate Political Debates

CNN: “The two candidates vying for President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat sat side-by-side and calmly accused each other of lying and other improprieties in a televised debate Sunday,” on NBC’s Meet the Press (Cohen, 10/10).

Politics Daily has a transcript of the debate, during which Republican candidate Rep. Mark Kirk said he would vote to repeal the health law, adding: “[L]et’s look at the health care bill we passed, $500 billion in cuts for seniors, who depend on Medicare, another ten new taxes that hit the economy and a perverse incentive. What is the essence of health care bill in 30 seconds? It says that if you employ 50 Americans or more, you must offer health insurance to the employees, or pay a $2,000 fine. But health insurance in America, many times, costs more than $2,000, giving a perverse incentive for these employers in 2014 to drop coverage.” 

Democrat Alexi Giannoulias replied: “Look, the health care bill was far from a perfect vehicle. That being said, I think it did some important things that the congressman wants to repeal. The denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, making sure that kids in between college and their first job have health care and I think morally we shouldn’t have 51 million Americans without affordable, basic health care. The health care system as we have it right now, we spend over 17 percent of our GDP on health care. It’s bankrupting our families. It’s bankrupting small businesses and bankrupting this country” (10/10).

The (Scranton) Times Tribune: “Nationwide, Congressional Democrats who voted for the reform bill, including three seeking to woo local voters, are tossing history aside and avoiding discussion of health care reform in the portion of their campaigns that usually make the most impact: their television commercials. The three reform-backing Democrats in the November election” are Reps. Paul Kanjorski, Chris Carney, and Joe Sestak, now running for the Senate. “‘If this historic bill was so good, then why wouldn’t they be talking about it?’ asked Republican Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, who is challenging Mr. Kanjorski.”

“Mr. Kanjorski passionately defends reform when asked, reminds that his decision to support the bill put it over the top in the House and says history will bear out the Democrats. But he says Democrats never explained properly and it is too late to campaign on such a complicated law when public opinion was poisoned against it by Republicans” (Krawczeniuk, 10/10).

The Daily Review (Pennsylvania): “Despite their vast differences, U.S. Rep. Chris Carney and his Republican challenger, Tom Marino, share a sliver of common ground on healthcare reform, one of the more divisive issues considered by the current Congress. Both men are cancer survivors and agree insurance companies should not be permitted to wield pre-existing conditions as a ground to reject coverage or increase premiums. How to legislate preventing that, however, is a matter of ideology.”

“Carney, a two-term Democrat, voted for the healthcare reform package passed by the Congress in March. The hotly debated bill includes a provision to prohibit insurance companies from dropping coverage or hiking rates and bars insurers from ending coverage if an individual develops a costly illness. … Marino, through a spokesman, said he would support a separate piece of legislation to deal only with the pre-existing condition issue – not the massive overhaul bill that Republicans have painted in commercials and rhetoric as inefficient and costly, with a supposed $500 billion cut to Medicare” (Sisak, 10/10).

Roll Call: “The National Republican Congressional Committee is set to begin running ads against Rep. Charlie Wilson (D) in Ohio’s 6th district this weekend, according to a GOP source with knowledge of the committee’s ad buys. … The move to target Wilson is a sign that Republicans are continuing to try to expand the playing field of competitive races with a little more than three weeks to go before the elections. … Wilson is facing businessman and Air Force veteran Bill Johnson (R), who has criticized the Congressman’s votes for the economic recovery law and the health care bill” (McArdle, 10/8).

The Milford Beacon covered a recent debate between Democrat John Carney and Republican Glen Urquhart, who are running for Delaware’s lone seat in the House. “Urquhart said [the new health law is] a tax bill, as the Obama administration admitted in federal court, and that hurts competition.  … Carney said he was for health reform and, while the bill needs to be examined more closely, he would not work to abolish it altogether. One thing the government has to do is cut down the costs of Medicare, much of which comes from $62 billion in fraud, with only a couple billion dollars recovered from that fraud” (Prado, 10/10).

The Toledo Blade noted that former Sen. Mike DeWine, a Republican, is now challenging Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray’s reelection bid. Dewine “has criticized Mr. Cordray for not joining other states in suing to stop implementation of the mandate that most Americans purchase health insurance under the new federal health-care law. Mr. DeWine has vowed to file such a lawsuit on his first day in office. … ‘This is the first time really in our history that we’ve compelled every citizen of the country to buy a specified product as a condition of citizenship, and if they don’t, we want to penalize them, fine them, or tax them,’ he said. Mr. Cordray has said he believes such a lawsuit would be a waste of taxpayer money. ‘The first thing that he’ll do when he takes office is, I guess, deprive people of protections for pre-existing conditions, knock people off their health-care plans,’ Mr. Cordray said” (Provance, 10/10).


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