Senate Dems held off the attempt by Senate Republicans today to repeal President Obama’s healthcare law with a 51 – 47 vote split along party lines.
The vote came two weeks to the day the Republican House voted 245-189 to repeal the law, and just days after a federal judge ruled Obama’s signature legislative achievement is unconstitutional.
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, a senior member of the Finance Committee, which has significant jurisdiction over health care reform, released a statement today on the amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill offered today by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), which would have repealed health insurance reform in its entirety.
If Senator McConnell’s move to repeal the health care law had been successful, it would have cost millions of families their health care coverage and ballooned the federal deficit by $230 billion over the next ten years and $1 trillion dollars over the next twenty years.
Kerry said in his statement:
“Republicans said they wanted to ‘repeal and replace’ but this was a vote to repeal and replace reform with nothing but the old, broken system that punished patients and crushed businesses with soaring costs,” said Sen. Kerry. “If you read the language, it’s crystal clear this isn’t symbolism. It’s a vote to take away health insurance from 32 million Americans, increase taxes on small businesses, and add more than $1 trillion dollar to the deficit. It would cost Massachusetts billions of dollars, erode Medicare for one million Bay State seniors, and effectively cripple the largest sector of the Massachusetts economy. The Senate can do better than this. This isn’t how you govern.”
The Effect of Repealing Health Reform on the State of Massachusetts:
• Repeal would take away $2 billion in additional federal assistance for MassHealth, which provides health coverage to more than one million Massachusetts children, families, seniors, and people with disabilities.
• Repeal would eradicate $860 million in federal funding of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which helps to ensure that virtually every child in Massachusetts has health care coverage.
• Repeal would make health coverage more expensive by taking away $4 billion in federal subsidies to purchase health insurance to over 254,000 Massachusetts residents.
• Repeal would prevent 75,000 people in Massachusetts with incomes between 300% of poverty to 400% of poverty—most of whom are older Americans under the age of 65—from receiving subsidies to purchase health coverage.
• Repeal would increase Medicare prescription drug costs for nearly 51,837 seniors in Massachusetts.
• Repeal would cut Medicare’s annual wellness visit and free preventive services for 1 million seniors in Massachusetts.
• Repeal would eliminate financial relief to 162 employers in Massachusetts who offer retiree health benefits.
• Repeal would make it more expensive for over 102,000 small businesses in Massachusetts to offer health coverage to their employees.
• Repeal would eliminate tens of millions of dollars in funding for community health centers in Massachusetts that provide high quality health care to about 800,000 state residents.
• Repeal would abolish $128 million in grants and tax credits to 312 small biotech companies in Massachusetts who are working to develop new therapies that prevent, diagnose and treat acute and chronic diseases.
• Repeal would increase health insurance premiums in the nongroup market by 14 to 20%, costing Massachusetts families $1,950 to $2,790 more in premiums each year.
• Repeal would eliminate payment bonuses to about 11,500 physicians in Massachusetts who practice primary care.
• Repeal would reinstate a discriminatory Medicare reimbursement provision that penalizes Massachusetts hospitals by hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
• Repeal would expose nearly 4.5 million Massachusetts residents with private insurance coverage to having lifetime limits placed on how much insurance companies will spend on their health care.
Members of the Senate did vote tonight to “repeal controversial language in last year’s healthcare bill that requires companies to report goods and services transactions worth $600 or more to the IRS.”
Massachusetts was in the lead on the health care issue and for its flaws, Mass Health is working to provide so many in MA with much needed health care. We can’t go back at this point, we must move forward. Health care for all should be a fundamental right.
Even President Ronald Reagan’s Solicitor General Charles Fried has said: “I am quite sure that the health care mandate is constitutional.”