The Times West Virginian

Opinion

September 29, 2013

It’s all about repeal of law on health care

Sometimes you don’t have to use an awful lot of words to get your point across. For example, Jeremy Peters, the New York Times Washington, D.C., reporter summed up the political maneuvering in the midst of an impending deadline that would shut down the government and possibly stop allowing the United States to borrow to make good on its debts.

“It is unclear what the Republicans want, other than a complete repeal of the health law.”

Not modified. Not watered down. Not changed. Gone.

And so goes the game of political chicken. Repeal or delay “Obamacare,” and the GOP-controlled House will pass a budget and increase the debt ceiling. If not, the government will “shut down” come Oct. 1, and we won’t we able to pay our bills as a nation come Oct. 17.

No one is shifting. Everyone is standing their ground while the minutes, hours and days pass.

Someone is bound to flinch and do something the other party will approve of, or at least be satisfied enough to keep the doors open and the lights on, right? Right?

Well, maybe. You see how far that got is with sequestration. But is the health care reform law so bad? Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic argues that while there are some growing pains that will inevitably come, it’s worth it in the long run.

“Compromises, trade-offs, and, yes, unintended consequences have been part of every reform in American history,” Cohn writes. “The minimum wage and child labor laws took money out of the pockets of employers. Social Security raised taxes on workers. Today, Americans cherish those programs because the good far outweighs the bad — because what the country gained, in economic security, health and freedom, more than made up for what it lost. The same standard should apply today.”

Or should it?

The Heritage Foundations says that the costs associated with health care reform will cripple an already hurting economy.

“The Congressional Budget Office says the current House plan would increase the deficit by $239 billion over 10 years,” a report from the foundation reads. “And that number will likely continue to rise over the long term. Similar entitlement bills in the past, including Medicare, have scored much lower than their actual eventual cost. A new study released by the Peterson Foundation estimates the (reform) would add $1 trillion to the deficit in the second decade.”

So what to do? Many of the House members elected post Affordable Care Act rode in on the wave of appealing “Obamacare” when they made it to the Capitol. Is this their chance, even though Congress passed it, the president signed it and the Supreme Court upheld it, making it a law that has passed through all of the checks and balances established by our forefathers?

We took that question to our readers on our online poll question, found each week at www.timeswv.com. There we asked, “Last week, the House passed a measure to defund “Obamacare” and will take up another to delay the health care by a year. What are your thoughts?”

• There are good pieces of the health care overhaul, but parts that need to be addressed. Fix what’s wrong; don’t scrap the whole thing — 7.25 percent.

• It was passed into law and upheld by the Supreme Court. These antics are a waste of time — 12.95 percent.

• Repeal it and start over — 79.79 percent.

That’s a pretty resounding message our readers are sending to lawmakers. It’s our hope that this game of political chicken will end soon and that things will get resolved without any more painful events, like in the aftermath of sequestration. But even more so, we want to see the second part of that statement happen. If Congress were to repeal it, it’s absolutely necessary that we start over and have a reform that everyone can live with, from us the patients to powerful political players alike.

This week, let’s get out of Washington and head back home. Last week, Playboy magazine named West Virginia University the No. 1 party school in the country. What do you think about that?

Log on. Vote. Email me or respond directly online.

Misty Poe

Managing Editor

mpoe@timeswv.com

@MistyPoeTWV

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