House Republicans are reigniting hostile disagreements over the President’s health care law this week with a series of votes to eliminate billions of dollars tucked away in what they say are unaccountable slush funds.
Higher premiums, fewer jobs, less access, and people losing their current health care plans are also at stake, says Rep. Joseph Pitts (R.-Pa.).
“We are receiving reports almost weekly that show that the true cost of ObamaCare is worse than what any of us expected,” Pitts, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health, told his panel Wednesday.
Democrats countered that the plan is financially sound and won’t saddle the deficit with billions in more spending.
If anyone is to blame for the current fiscal crisis, Democrats said, it’s former President George W. Bush.
“The deficit crisis we find ourselves in is a man-made crisis,” said Rep. Henry Waxman, (D.-Calif.). “In fact, it is a Republican-made crisis.” Republicans countered that ObamaCare will cost 800,000 jobs, and that 2.4 million Americans are officially excused from participating in the plan, including the Service Employees International Union, because they say they can’t afford it.
“The rest of Americans, you are stuck with this thing,” said Rep. Mike Rogers (R.-Mich.).
Republicans are testing the waters through a series of votes Thursday in the subcommittee on five pieces of legislation that would defund the law and limit power by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to access a $17.5 billion slush fund.
“The [current] law contains perverse incentives for businesses not to grow,” Pitts said.
“Not only does the law not achieve its stated goals, the true cost of ObamaCare is too high for our states, too high for the federal government, and too high for the private sector,” Pitts said.
Rep. Fred Upton (R.-Mich.), full committee chairman, says the Congressional Budget Office estimates the health care law will cost $1.4 trillion over the next decade, up from the estimate after the bill was signed into law one year ago that it would cost $938 billion.
“Last week, a member of this committee and supporter of the law suggested his hometown should receive a waiver. I think we should go one step further: We should lift the burden of [ObamaCare] from all Americans and repeal it,” Upton said.
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., the subcommittee’s leading Democrat, said Republicans are trying to kill the law through “righteous indignation” and called their objections “reheated arguments of repeal and replace.”
It was Bush’s fault, he added, that the number of uninsured rose by 6 million during his administration.
Republican opposition “never seems to end,” Pallone said.
Lois Capps, (D.-Calif.) called Republican claims that the law comes with excessive costs a “gross exaggeration and complete fabrication.” She called it the “largest deficit-reducing bill enacted by Congress in the last decade.”