Obama has had little to say this week in response to the new Republican offensive.
But House and Senate Democrats have taken to the floor in each chamber to offer a robust defense of a law that some believe cost many of their now-former colleagues their jobs in the 2010 midterm elections. Democrats tout many of the law’s reforms, particularly those that allow children to remain on their parents’ policies until age 26, prevent insurance companies from denying coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition and increase prescription drug coverage for seniors.
Republicans, citing new Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Affordable Care Act will cost taxpayers almost double its original price tag and contending that insurance premiums have only increased since the law was enacted, insist that the politics and the policy of this issue are on their side. McConnell said that the United States already had the “finest health care in the world” and that the law needs to be scrapped so that Congress can start over.
If McConnell has his way, the law will be replaced with modest reforms focusing on reducing the cost of health care premiums, such as tort reform and enabling the purchase of insurance across state lines. The Kentuckian said the current law’s focus on expanding coverage to the uninsured by opening up Medicaid to Americans not in poverty could force states like his to divert funding from other priorities, such as higher education, which could drive up tuition costs.
“Almost none of the promises the president made in regard to this legislation are coming true,” McConnell said. “It’s the single worst piece of legislation that’s been passed since I’ve been in the Senate. ... It’s a horrible mistake that needs to be undone.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.