After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional, the House Republican leadership got together to schedule a vote—a second attempt—to overturn the health care law commonly known as Obamacare.
Rep. Phillip Gingery (R-Ga.), who is also a physician, told NPR’s “Marketplace” that he was absolutely stunned by the high court’s ruling and that not only would he not like to sit down and have a beer with Chief Justice Roberts, a conservative who cast the deciding vote and wrote the opinion for the majority, but “I’d like to pour one on his head.”
That said, however, Gingery also said efforts were underway to appeal the health care law.
“In fact, we have already made a decision,” Gingery told host Kai Ryssdal. “House Republicans through our leadership—John Boehner and Eric Cantor—that we will have a repeal vote actually on a date, July the 11th. I think that’s what the American people want us to do.”
Gingrey predicted the House would pass the measure and that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would sit on it until after the election.
The strategy, Gingrey said, is that during the march up the presidential election on Nov. 6, the Republicans plan to emphasize that Obamacare, despite protests to the contrary, has essentially raised taxes on people making less than $200,000 a year and would cost taxpayers at least $2.7 trillion.
The fact that the bill was passed as a mandate and that it was the Supreme Court that turned it into a tax, is merely a quibble in Gingrey’s mind.
He conceded that the Supreme Court made it a tax, but that the administration was doing nothing more than using a sleight of hand by casting the measure as a mandate because so-called Blue Dog Democrats, who tend to be more conservative, would never have supported it as a tax.
“This indeed is the largest tax in the history of our country while at the same time, as we all know, $575 billion were taken out of the Medicare program to help pay for this new entitlement,” Gingery said. “I’m very disappointed, but while this today is a chicken salad day for the administration, it’s going to be a chicken something else come November the 7th because I think we’re going to—because of this—elect a 45th president.”
It is the unrelenting focus of Republicans that the only game in town is finding a way to defeat Obama that matters. The fact that much of the Republican position on the Affordable Care Act has been debunked by health and economic experts be damned!
The GOP won’t let the facts get in the way of a good story and intend to hammer its message home every chance it gets, hoping to convince more and more people along the way of the Republican version of the truth.
What isn’t clear at this point is what the Democrats have to counter that plan.
“From the very beginning, the Republican Leadership attacked the Affordable Care Act by focusing on repealing patients’ rights and keeping insurance companies in control. As I have said before, they seek to defund, and we seek to defend,” Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), said in a statement Thursday vowing to stand up to the House GOP.
“Repealing the Affordable Care Act would have a devastating impact on all Americans, especially those in our most vulnerable communities. The Supreme Court’s ruling upholds the provisions that protect and provide for Americans in need. We will not stand by and allow our communities’ rights to be trampled.”
Dr. L. Toni Lewis, healthcare chair for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), said that while Thursday’s ruling was satisfying, that black Americans needed to be focused on the longer term.
The Affordable Care Act, Lewis told BlackAmericaWeb.com, is a “good first step” to ensuring the kind of health care coverage communities of color deserve, but it also is important to remember that it all could go away depending on the outcome of the national election in November.
“We’ve got power in our vote and we’ve got a big election coming up. We need to exercise that power,” Lewis said. “We need to get (Obama’s) back and be clear about that and move things forward.”
It would be in the interest of Democrats and African Americans to develop the same or more intense level of passion that the Republicans have.
The health of our communities depends on it.
Jackie Jones, a veteran journalist and journalism educator, is director of Jones Coaching LLC, a career transformation firm.