Deja vu?

Deja vu?

Republicans are determined to defeat the Affordable Care Act which was just upheld by the Supreme Court. They are using false information to accomplish their aim to repeal the health reform bill that is so critical for the health of many millions of Americans.We hear from them that there will be “massive tax increases on individuals and businesses.” There is no massive tax hike: few people will ever pay the penalty for not buying insurance. The tax penalty they are referring to is for those who can afford to buy insurance, but stay uninsured, forcing the rest of us to subsidize their care. It is estimated that 1 percent of the population will pay that penalty.

To further indicate how disingenuous their statement is, Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior Mitt Romney campaign adviser, said in an interview that Romney agrees with President Obama that the mechanism to enforce the socalled mandate that Americans have insurance — a provision modeled after the Massachusetts law Romney had signed as governor — was a penalty and not a tax. That’s a statement that runs counter to what the rest of the GOP has argued in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling.

According to a report from Families USA, 28.6 million Americans, most of them middle class, will receive tax cuts under the bill due to entering health care exchanges and receiving affordability credits. The Affordable Health Care bill includes the largest middle-class tax cut for health care in history.

According to the independent Congressional Budget Office, 19 million people will receive tax credits worth an average of about $4,800 each to help them afford health care. These tax credits will finally put health insurance within reach for millions of American families.

Adding to Republican misinformation about the bill, we hear from Republicans that there will be an increase in the deficit due to the bill. The facts are that the estimated reduction in the deficit from the bill over the next 10 years is $143 billion. Drug manufacturers would pay the United States $16 billion from 2011 to 2019. Health manufacturers would pay $47 billion over the same period. Government payments to Medicare Advantage would be reduced by $132 billion over 10 years. Some of those saved deficit funds will be reduced by the cost to the government of the plan, leading  to the estimated reduction of $143 billion.

The Affordable Care Act is not only constitutionally correct, but it is the right thing to do for Americans. Now, 30 million people without health insurance will have that protection, along with many  more millions of Americans who have pre-existing conditions and have not been able to get health insurance. People will not have to be worried that they or their children can’t get the health care they need, or they might have to lose their homes and/or be forced into bankruptcy without health insurance.

For decades after Medicare was passed in 1965, Republicans tried to repeal it. It seems that the goal to repeal the Affordable Care Act is “deja vu all over again.”

Selma Prager

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