So what should be one of the first orders of business for the new Republican-led House of Representatives? Repeal the healthcare reform law, of course. That alone should pay off all of our debt and put everybody back to work.
As early as this week, the House will vote on repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—“lock, stock and barrel”—as more than one lawmaker has bleated.
While everyone knows that this exercise won't get any further than the House, be assured it's just the first of many legislative skirmishes that can be expected as lawmakers seek the demise of the reform law—which is projected to actually save the federal treasury big money over time.
The ultimate goal here is worse than trying to kick our healthcare problems down the road. It's a desire to return to the days when there was no path toward coverage for more than 30 million uninsured Americans, when pre-existing medical conditions kept patients from securing the care they needed and when insurance companies were calling all the shots on premiums and coverage limits.
We're also told that it's the will of the voters to unravel the “unpopular” reform law. But that description of public opinion is misleading. Yes, the American people remain divided over its provisions, but as the law has been rolled out—and people have seen some of its benefits, not just overheated rhetoric about its tyranny—many polls have shown an uptick in approval. The voters favor amending this imperfect law, not trashing it.
Most recently, a December 2010 poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows 42% of those surveyed had “favorable” views of the reform law vs. 41% who had “unfavorable” views. The poll also found growing acceptance among seniors.
Given the economic hurdles outlined by Speaker Boehner, this country doesn't have time to waste on political games over the repeal of health reform. In fact, at a time when employers are looking for some certainty when it comes to the healthcare-policy landscape, such maneuvering only serves to destabilize the situation. That's hardly a good thing when the mantra is “jobs, jobs, jobs.”