This week, Republicans are taking their 31st vote this Congress to repeal or defund the landmark health reform law, arguing to take away health care benefits from millions of Americans. Rather than wasting time on the same political show votes over and over, Republicans ought to be focusing on the issues most important to Americans – creating jobs and growing our economy.
Here are the GOP’s misguided priorities by the numbers:
44: Number of days left in the 112th Congress
31: Number of times the House has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act after this week
0: Number of jobs bills proposed by Republicans this week
56: Percent of Americans who want opponents of health care reform to move on to other issues [Source: Kaiser Family Foundation poll]
30 million: Number of Americans who will lose their insurance if health care reform is repealed
$651: Average amount saved by each of the 5.3 million seniors in the “donut hole,” which would be taken away by repealing the health care law
360,000: Small businesses who have taken advantage of tax credits to provide health care coverage to more than 2 million employees, which would no longer be offered if the health care law is repealed
6.6 million: Young adults up to age 26 who have received health care coverage through their parent’s plan, which would no longer be law if health care reform is repealed
17 million: Children with pre-existing conditions who can no longer be denied coverage by insurers, which would no longer be law if health care reform is repealed
And perhaps the most important number of all:
0: Number of health care reform alternatives proposed by Republicans to preserve benefits already being enjoyed by Americans
Despite Gov. Romney’s recent flip-flop that the Affordable Care Act mandate is a tax, he has a long history defending the health care reform legislation he created in Massachusetts, which included a mandate. He has praised the benefits of the mandate, which helps ensures that Americans have access to quality, affordable health care and doesn’t let “free riders” – who could afford health care – make others pay when they need care.
Gov. Romney’s support for the mandate:
"‘No more ‘free riding,’ if you will, where an individual says: ‘I’m not going to pay, even though I can afford it. I’m not going to get insurance, even though I can afford it. I’m instead going to just show up and make the taxpayers pay for me,’ …It’s the ultimate conservative idea, which is that people have responsibility for their own care, and they don’t look to government to take of them if they can afford to take care of themselves.” [6/22/05]
“We can’t have as a nation 40 million people — or, in my state, half a million — saying, ‘I don’t have insurance, and if I get sick, I want someone else to pay.’“ [7/4/05]
“…in an environment where insurance is finally available at much lower cost for all of our citizens would it be reasonable to say, hey, look, everybody’s got to sign up or pay their own way instead of passing on the cost to others.” [11/29/05]
“The personal responsibility principle is essential for bringing the health care costs down for everyone and getting everyone the health insurance they need.” [3/6/06]
“Right now, in lots of parts of the country, if individuals do not have insurance, they can arrive at the hospital and be given free care, paid for by government. Our current system is a big-government system. A conservative approach is one that relies on individual responsibility. … But in my view, and others are free to disagree, expecting people who can afford to buy insurance to do so is consistent with personal responsibility, and that’s a cornerstone of conservatism.” [4/18/10]
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