By Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner / Co-founder and Executive Director of Moms Rising / 1/19/2011
Save lives, help small businesses, cut the deficit, and grow jobs.
How could anyone be against that?
Yet efforts are afoot in Congress to repeal the new health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, before it’s even fully implemented as is planned over the next several years. In fact, there’s a vote expected in the House to take up this matter.
Changing course now would harm our children, our businesses, our jobs, and our nation.
Approximately 129 million people could be denied care without the Affordable Care Act preexisting condition protections. The new benefits of health reform have already saved lives and freed millions of Americans from worrying that they’ll lose or be denied insurance due to preexisting conditions when the law is fully implemented in 2014. Additionally, health-care reform has already begun providing tax credits for small businesses to purchase coverage for their employees, growing jobs, cutting the deficit, as well as ensuring that our children are not dropped from coverage just when we need it most — and the sweeping benefits of health reform are not even fully implemented yet.
• Emily, from New York writes:
My son has asthma, and throughout his life we have faced frightening struggles to maintain his health and occasionally his life itself. The guarantee that we can access insurance without denial based on this condition is absolutely critical to us and to our entire country. Without his medicines, my amazing, intelligent, beautiful 9-year-old boy could die. This is a life and death situation, and I write from my heart when I say how thankful I am that we can re-imagine and re-create space for his life and future, by allowing him access to the medicines and care he needs.
• Nan, from Illinois writes:
I am the co-owner of an independent record label in Chicago. My small business covers 100% of the health insurance costs for our staff of 7. With the new health care reform my business will see approximately $12,000 in tax credits. In this economy, that kind of tax credit will make a huge difference for our company and allow us to invest more in our business. We have had our premiums raised 67% in one year. We need health care reform now!
• Mari from Reno, Nevada writes:
After my daughter went into remission for cancer, her insurance company was trying to drop her. They said they would only continue coverage if she were in school fulltime. It was impossible for her to be in school fulltime when she was still suffering the effects of chemo. Now that the reform is in place, we no longer have to battle the insurance companies to keep her on the rolls. I, myself, have a pre-existing condition for which I could not be covered. Once the expanded Medi-caid goes into effect in 2014, I will have affordable coverage. It gives me piece of mind knowing I will not have to scramble to pay my costs forever. I just have to ride it out a little longer. I hope this isn’t taken away from me. It’s the 1st grain of hope I’ve had in awhile that I will not die an early death from lack of treatment.
• Dawn, from Florida writes:
Recently we got a new policy and I was expecting one of these exclusions on my son because he has had eye muscle surgery in the past year to correct a condition called strabismus. When we received word that we were approved with no exclusions, I actually questioned the agent to clarify. ‘Do you mean that if my son needs another surgery on his eye that it’s covered?’ I asked. “Yes,” the agent said. ‘We can’t exclude conditions any longer, so it will be covered.” How wonderful!!!!!
• Beth, from Virginia writes: “Thanks to the health care reform law, my 20 year-old daughter has health insurance. Without the reform, she would have no insurance right now!”
As the MomsRising member stories show, rolling back health-care reform hurts our families, our economy, and increases the deficit. While keeping the Affordable Care Act moving forward saves lives, as well as protects both our pocketbooks and our personal freedoms to get the health care we and our families need, when we need it. Further, the new benefits have freed millions of Americans from worrying that they’ll lose or be denied insurance, and it will also cut the deficit, grow jobs, provide tax credits for small businesses to purchase coverage for their employees, as well as provide more affordable prescriptions for seniors on Medicare, and much more.
On the other hand, repealing the Affordable Care Act puts more power back in the hands of insurance companies, and that isn’t good for our families, our economy, or for our businesses.
Speaking of businesses, without the full implementation of health-care reform, including tax credits for small businesses to purchase coverage for their employees, businesses will continue to be in big trouble due to fast-rising health care costs.
Forbes recently reported that likely due to the tax credits with health reform, there’s been a recent increase in small business health insurance policies:
The first statistics are coming in and, to the surprise of a great many, Obamacare might just be working to bring health care to working Americans precisely as promised.The major health insurance companies around the country are reporting a significant increase in small businesses offering health care benefits to their employees. Why? Because the tax cut created in the new health care reform law providing small businesses with an incentive to give health benefits to employees is working.
Conversely, without health care reform, small businesses are expected to pay nearly $2.4 trillion dollars over the next 10 years in health-care costs for their workers. With health-care reform, small businesses are expected to save as much as $855 billion, a reduction of 36 percent, money that can be reinvested to grow the economy over the next 10 years, as estimated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Jonathan Gruber.
And then there’s the deficit. Everyone wants to see the deficit cut. Guess what? Calculations show the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act will do just that: Cut the deficit.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the savings from the sweeping legislation will more than offset the cost of expanding coverage to some 30 million uninsured, reducing the federal deficit over the next 10 years.
That’s right. Contrary to what the spin-doctors who are trying to repeal health reform are saying, the federal deficit will be cut (that’s right, cut!) by the full implementation of health reform. In fact, the CBO just released an analysis that confirmed that repealing health-care reform as it passed would increase the deficit by $230 billion in the first decade and by more than $1 trillion in the following decade.
How will the deficit be lowered and costs saved? David M. Cutler, Professor of Applied Economics, Harvard University, and a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, recently wrote:
The legislation establishes insurance exchanges, mandates minimum loss ratios for insurance companies, and streamlines transactions between medical care providers and insurers. Together, these provisions will significantly reduce the administrative costs of medical care. By far the most changes are in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The philosophy underlying the Affordable Care Act is to make Medicare and Medicaid smarter purchasers of medical care so that providers are rewarded for creating value–not just for providing additional services.
The LA Times recently took up this matter as well in a Q&A, stating: “What about the law’s effect on the budget deficit?”LA Times answer:
The CBO, which lawmakers from both parties rely on to assess the effects of legislation, now estimates that the law would bring down the deficit over the next decade by more than $200 billion. That is possible because the authors of the legislation offset the cost of expanding coverage to 32 million Americans over the next decade with more than $500 billion in cuts to federal Medicare spending and more than $400 billion in new taxes and fees.
As the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke recently stated:
The cost savings are real, and they will grow over time. It’s helpful to remember our health-care-cost trajectory before reform was passed. In the past 50 years, American firms saw a more than eightfold increase in the amount of payroll that went toward employee health insurance. Rising costs have meant fewer jobs. A 2009 Rand study confirmed that over the past 25 years, many American employers were losing jobs and revenue as a result of onerous health-care costs.
Jobs? Did someone say “jobs”? A number of studies show that the full implementation of health-care reform grows jobs. One such study found that repealing the law would prevent 250,000 to 400,000 jobs from being created annually over the next decade.
In short, the new health reform law is projected to not only grow jobs, but also to save lives, cut the deficit, give people more freedoms, more choices for care, as well as to help businesses as it’s fully implemented over time.
Who in their right mind would treat those gains like a political football with the lives of so many people hanging in the balance?!
But right now, they’re playing games on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. After all, we all know the Senate and president will block this House repeal effort. Yet, this is just the first volley in what’s expected to be a long term fight.
This push to repeal health reform is worthy of a closer look. It’s worthy of noting who voted which way on your refrigerator door so you can use that information the next time your members of Congress come up for election.
Clearly, the costs of repealing the Affordable Care Act are too high for our nation’s families and businesses. Too many businesses, like the one owned by Nan in Illinois, are counting on the change health reform brings in the face of long-time sky rocketing health-care costs. And, for too many people, like Mari and her daughter, repealing health reform could be a death sentence.
It’s not time to “chicken out” by pulling back on fully implementing health care reform over the coming years as planned. It’s not time for political posturing and grandstanding. This is serious business. Too many lives are at stake. Our nation needs to stay the course implementing health reform for our families, our economy, our lives and our children’s lives.
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