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What the Election Results Mean for Health Care Reform

November 5th, 2010 – Republicans picked up at least 60 House seats and at least six Senate seats in the election, removing Democrat Nancy Pelosi from her powerful position as speaker of the House and putting Republicans in charge of House leadership and committees.

According to exit polls, health care reform followed as the second-most important issue for voters during this election cycle.

The day after Tuesday’s elections, House Republican leader John Boehner and House GOP Whip Eric Cantor spoke about the possibility of repealing or dismantling comprehensive health-care reform.  “The health-care bill that was enacted by the current Congress will kill jobs in America, ruin the best health-care system in the world, and bankrupt our country,” said Rep. John Boehner.

While the desire is there, Republican control of the House is not enough to repeal the law by itself.  They still have to contend with a Democratic controlled Senate and President Obama.  Republicans don’t have the two-thirds majority required in both Houses to override a presidential veto.  They would need 67 votes in the Senate to overcome a veto from President Obama.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans have to be realistic about what control over the House will mean for legislation. “It would be foolish to expect that Republicans will be able to completely reverse the damage Democrats have done as long as a Democrat holds the veto pen,” McConnell said. “We have to be realistic about what we can and cannot achieve, while at the same recognizing that realism should never be confused with capitulation.”

Lawmakers will likely have the most success, pursuing incremental changes to the law to keep the debate top of mind for voters leading up to the 2012 elections.  Republicans are proposing that Congress enact popular cost saving measures that are missing from the current health-care law, including medical liability reforms, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines, and an expansion of health savings accounts.

President Obama invited the Republican and Democratic House leaders to meet in the White House on November 18 to discuss the changed political landscape and how they can work together in the future.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Kevin McNamara November 8, 2010, 3:39 pm

    So what criteria is John Boehner using when he claims we have the best health care system in the world? Cost? Life expectancy? Preventable deaths? Infant mortality? Household bankruptcy due to medical bills?

    Of course none of the above. The Republicans spew belligerent half-truths about health care, while the Democrats have no spine to call them out.

    Go ahead and call me an anti-American communist, but the simple fact is I love America and strongly support capitalism (when it is honest and productive). What I hate are bullies and bullshit.

    I’m a small businessman shopping for group health insurance. This misleading article has convinced me not to consider Colorado Health Insurance Brokers.

    • Mark November 8, 2010, 4:53 pm

      Thank you for your feedback. By reporting on what politicians say, I am not endorsing or agreeing with their positions. In my blog, I try to be fair and report both sides of what both parties say. I agree that some of these statements seem outrageous, which is why I wanted to bring them to light.

      My personal opinion is that politicians consistently look out for big business at the expense of the American taxpayer and small business people.

      Also, I am one of the few health insurance Agents that was pro healthcare reform, but I wanted to see it done in a more intelligent and thoughtful manner. After watching the Health Reform Summit, I was shocked at how ill informed most of our leaders are on what they are legislating and how little they know about economics.

      I developed a practical health care reform plan that I thought would appeal to both plans. I made phone calls, wrote letters and sent emails trying to bring this to light and asking for reform that would actually help reduce premiums and improve health care. All I got back were form letters thanking me for supporting them, even though I clearly did not support either party’s agenda.

      I wish our system was not so polarizing and that our politicians worked for their states’ citizens rather than their political parties.

      • Kevin McNamara November 8, 2010, 5:50 pm

        Mark,

        I respect your response and must say I generally agree with it. Perhaps I misinterpreted your initial blog.

        My father is a lifelong Democrat who is so disappointed with Obama’s health care reform that for the first time in his life he has lost faith in his party (while gaining no faith in the other party).

        I feel Republicans generally want to ignore and gloss over the health care problem, Democrats generally are ignorant and weak-willed about confronting the problem, both parties are generally on the take, and if nothing changes the common person is generally screwed.

        So it appears we are more or less in agreement after all.

        Thanks,
        Kevin

        • Mark November 9, 2010, 10:03 am

          Kevin, thank you for your response and it does seem we have some similar viewpoints on the situation.

          The reason I supported health care reform is that the inflation of health care costs results in unsustainable health insurance rate increases. Healthcare takes up an unhealthy amount of America’s GDP and we have to reign in healthcare costs, while improving access to healthcare services for both economic and moral reasons.

          As it stands now, I’m afraid that the big corporations in the health sector are the only ones that will really prosper, while the government offers subsidies to provide the illusion of affordable healthcare to middle and lower middle class Americans. However, with continued health care cost inflation; the illusion will not be a lasting one and all taxpayers will take the brunt of the fallout.

          I’m frustrated that they danced around the problem without having the guts to address the core problems. Saying that doing anything was better than doing nothing was a cop out.

          We have the right to expect more and for politicians to invest the time to improve the system to take care of our citizens and make American business more competitive in the global marketplace. It is not an impossible task. It just requires more courage than our elected officials appear to possess.

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