Parties’ talking points spin health care law

January 17, 2011

By Seth McLaughlin-The Washington Times

With consumers already enjoying prescription-drug discounts, expanded health coverage for young adults, and insurance plans for pre-existing conditions, Democrats say the Republican push to repeal the health care overhaul will encounter opposition from the growing number of people who benefit from it.

The White House and Democratic lawmakers have been busy driving that message home in press conferences, committee testimony and floor speeches on Capitol Hill, while the new Republican majority in the House has been busy setting the stage for a vote this week to scrap the health care reform that President Obama signed into law in March.

“They can’t be serious, to have people now that have pre-existing disabilities to no longer be able to get insurance,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Sunday on NBC‘s “Meet the Press.” “They can’t be serious when people who are on Social Security now can get a free checkup, they can have wellness checks anytime they want and not have to pay for it.”

But House Republicans show no signs of backing off their campaign pledge to scrap the president’s signature legislative achievement, saying that when push comes to shove, the bad aspects of the law trump the good.

“It is telling that the more Americans learn about it, the more discouraged they are by its harmful effects,” new House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Sunday in the GOP‘s weekly address. “The law is fundamentally flawed because it enables federal bureaucrats to come between patients and their doctors, limiting choices. And because of its mandates, ‘Obamacare’ has already caused the costs of health care to increase, while forcing some Americans to give up the health care they have even if they like it.”

While new polling data show that the raw feelings over the overhaul have subsided, an overwhelming majority think the landmark measure needs to be fixed. An Associated Press poll shows 40 percent support the law, while 41 percent oppose it. Just after the November congressional elections, opposition stood at 47 percent and support was 38 percent.

But less than 20 percent say it should be left as it is.

The fight is part of a broader battle on Capitol Hill in which both parties have in the opening days of the new Congress tried to cast themselves as the more fiscally responsible group, with Democrats saying Republicans are in favor of “reckless spending” and Republicans blasting Democrats for a “job-killing agenda.”

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