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Possibility of Healthcare Bill Repeal?

If one were to read the articles posted on the left, right, and center websites that abound on the Internet, it would seem that the chances of repealing the healthcare bill are somewhere between slim and none. The common theme of these articles is the, “fact,” that Medicare and Social Security both experienced calls for repeal soon after enactment, but soon after the public grew to like these programs.

The healthcare bill is substantively different than Medicare and Social Security. Roosevelt and Johnson sold these programs on the simple fact we all pay in to take out later. The healthcare bill does not offer that sense of individualism, simplicity, and bipartisanship that Medicare and Social Security did. Everyone has a stake in these two programs, from the richest to the poorest, everyone pays a portion.

The healthcare bill is paid for by two groups primarily, the rich and the retired, and neither group will get much in return. The initial benefits of the bill will only affect a small portion of society. Most folks do not have serious pre-existing conditions, children included, and most folks don’t want to keep their children on their policy up to the age of 26. There are many more Medicare and Social Security beneficiaries that will pay for this bill and receive slight or no benefit than there are kids with pre-existing conditions.

The main problem that the healthcare bill will run up against is the fact that most people already have Arizona health insurance and like their coverage. The vast majority of the people that will be covered by this bill are people that could have been covered before the bill was passed, but chose not to. And let’s not forget the real losers in this bill, the Medicare Advantage policyholders and the employees at small companies that will drop their group coverage and pay the small fine instead.

Now let’s look at programs in the past that have been repealed, or substantially modified. The New Deal and the Great Society were both gutted, and in 96′ congress substantially changed AFDC. But hands down the largest bill ever repealed was the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage bill of 1996 which was repealed in 1999. The bill offered benefits most seniors already had, it was passed by a largely partisan vote, and it was paid for largely by seniors. Thousands called AARP and cancelled their memberships for supporting the bill. Politicians were met with angry elderly citizens at town hall meetings, one congressman actually chased down the street. Members of congress said at the time that people simply did not understand the bill. Any of this sound familiar?

The similarities between these two bills is striking. Neither bill enjoyed bipartisan support, both were very complex, and neither had much demand for the benefits offered.

To clarify the, “facts.’ Medicare and Social Security were well liked from the beginning. There was never a call for repeal, no angry mobs, and both enjoyed wide bipartisan support when passed.

Lastly, I think that conservatives will have the votes to repeal, or at least gut the majority of the bill by 2014 when a major portion of the bill is to kick in.

Michael Higgins


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Posted by:
Michael Higgins

Posted on:
April 20th, 2010

Posted in: