Friday, January 7, 2011

Just Say NO -- to Repeal

The new GOP majority in the House of Representatives has scheduled a vote on their repeal of health reform -- which just cancels the law entirely and does not replace it with anything, sending us back to the status quo before reform was enacted -- on January 12. I'm asking you to contact your members of Congress and tell them to VOTE NO ON REPEAL. To find your Senators, go here. To find your Representatives, go here. Or, even simpler, just call


for the Capitol switchboard.

Why should you oppose repeal? Well, so far, the new law has:

  • Eliminated lifetime caps on benefits;
  • Begun to phase out annual caps on benefits;
  • Eliminated pre-existing condition exclusions for children under age 19;
  • Created Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans (PCIPs) for people with pre-existing conditions who've been without insurance for at least 6 months;
  • Allowed dependents to stay on their parents' policies to age 26;
  • Initiated a new appeal process that gives us greater protections;
  • Made it illegal for an insurance company to retroactively cancel your insurance because you get sick;
  • Provided for free preventive care;
  • Begun to eliminate the Medicare drug benefit doughnut hole by cutting it in half this year;
  • Required insurance companies to spend at least 80 or 85 percent of your premium dollars on things that improve your health (and not salaries and bonuses);
  • Eliminated prior authorization requirements for emergency care;
  • Issued regulations beginning to curtail premium rate increases.

And the law has not even been in effect for a full year. This seems to me to be a pretty good start. In 2014, there will be no more pre-existing condition exclusions for anybody. There will be Exchanges, allowing people to join larger purchasing pools to drive down the cost of insurance. There will be subsidies to help people afford their insurance premiums.

Is the law perfect? No. None of us -- even the most ardent supporters -- thinks it can't be improved upon. But that can be done by intelligent study and amendment, not repealing the whole thing.

Indeed, most of the arguments in favor of repeal are based on complete lies.

There is no government take-over of insurance. Period. And according to the Congressional Budget Office, repealing reform would HURT the budget, not help it. I've heard plenty of arguments for things that could be improved. I've even heard lots of complaints that the law doesn't go further faster. But I haven't heard a single cogent argument about why the entire law should be repealed that is based on what the law actually says, as opposed to the misinformation that is circulating.

Next week's vote on repeal will pass the House and die. The Senate will not take it up, and the President has already said he would veto it if it came to his desk.

What will follow, though, are lots of discussions and debates about ways to improve the law. That's a healthy conversation that we should have. You will find that I will not be against any and all amendments to the law. I just don't want to lose the ground we've already won.

So call your members of Congress TODAY:


Tell them to vote NO on repeal, retain the progress we've already made, and look for ways to make the law better in the future. Jennifer

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