Entries in Health Care Reform (11)


Latino Outreach Could Bolster Support for Healthcare Overhaul

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Latinos are very interested in the Affordable Care Act, but a new survey shows they don't know much about it yet.

Targeted outreach to the Hispanic community might go a long way, however, in increasing public support for the law.

The Obama administration is battling fierce opposition to implementation of the law from the Republican Party and looking to gain as much support as possible from allies. President Obama even spoke last week at a Planned Parenthood conference, becoming the first sitting president to address the group in person. The women's health advocacy organization has been a staunch supporter of the law and Obama said he will need help from it and other groups with implementation.

Latinos could fall into that category, but they don't yet. Hispanics generally support the law and they stand to be hugely impacted by it -- some studies indicate more than five million uninsured Latinos are likely to gain coverage -- but a new Latino Decisions survey indicates they find it confusing and are wary about how it will impact them.

More than half of Latinos surveyed said they were "not that informed" or "not at all informed" about President Obama's healthcare overhaul. More than two-thirds said the healthcare plan is confusing and less than 15 percent said public officials in Washington, D.C. took the health needs of the Latino community into account as the bill was developed and passed.

But the community is eager to know more -- nearly 90 percent said they want to learn more about the law.

Here's the interesting part: After they were provided some basic information about the law, three-quarters said it was a good thing for Latinos.

Those numbers indicate a couple of things. One, that more outreach specifically targeted at Latinos is needed. And two, that Latino support for the law increases after that outreach. In other words, there's untapped support for the law in the Latino community. A little targeted outreach could harness it.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Ron Paul: Gov't Intervention Not the Solution to Health Care Reform

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Ron Paul warns that America’s health care system is in dire need of reform and that more government intervention is not the answer.

Speaking at a health care series on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Paul told the crowd of mainly Congressional staffers that President Obama’s health care initiative falls short in controlling spiraling health care costs and improving delivery.

Paul favors Americans transitioning into medical savings accounts.  The GOP hopeful said his system would not only increase competition and improve technology, but it would bring down prices for everyone.  He added that it prevents rationing, which he predicts will occur.

To drive his point home, Paul told the story of a 75-year-old man he met at church who recently received a heart transplant.

“That won’t happen under Obamacare,” Paul said.  “He won’t qualify … you are not going to get a new heart when you’re 70 or 80 years old.”

Paul also said his marketplace approach would do away with the Food and Drug Administration, which he said does more harm than good.  As proof, he said his grandson was helped by a cancer drug that only became available after years and years of roadblocks.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Kagan on Health Care in '09-'10: ‘They Have the Votes!! Simply Amazing’

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- She’s now a Supreme Court Justice who could hear arguments in March about the constitutionality of President Obama’s signature legislation, the health care law. That is, if she doesn't recuse herself first: and critics say her email history proves she should do just that.

But in 2009 and 2010, Justice Elena Kagan was President Obama’s solicitor general. And in emails from that time that were recently obtained by conservative government watchdog Judicial Watch, Kagan is clearly pleased with the passage of the bill.

Most notably, in a March 21, 2010 email to then-Senior Counselor for Access to Justice Laurence Tribe, Kagan writes, “I hear they have the votes Larry!! Simply amazing…”

Kagan is seen keeping close tabs on the legislation. In another exchange, deputy solicitor general Neal Katyal informs Kagan that “We just got Snowe on health care,” a reference to Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.

She emails with David Barron, then-acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, about a Wall Street Journal op-ed discussing legislative strategy on “deeming” the health care bill into law.

During her confirmation hearings for the Court, Kagan told Congress she had never offered any views or comment regarding the merits of a challenge to the health care law brought by lawyers for Florida and several other States who believe the law is unconstitutional.

Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton writes that “These new emails are bound to raise additional questions about whether Justice Kagan ought to participate in High Court deliberations on Obamacare. Certainly, if these documents were known at the time of her confirmation, there may have been quite a different senate debate. The Obama Justice Department dumped these documents just before a holiday weekend, hoping they would go unnoticed. This slow-walking of documents out of the Obama Justice Department is scandalous and makes one wonder what other information they are sitting on.”

White House officials had no comment. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Can Mitt Romney Shake the Legacy of Health Care Reform?

James Devaney/WireImage(WASHINGTON) -- When former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney formally unveiled his presidential exploratory committee in a video message Monday, he did so without once mentioning the issue that could potentially make or break his campaign: health care reform.

In a more than two-and-a-half minute clip, Romney stuck with a jobs-and-economy theme, touting his achievements in politics and business and warning that “America has been put on a dangerous course by Washington politicians."

But it escaped no one’s notice that five years ago, Romney signed into law a Massachusetts health care reform measure that bears striking similarities to the national law President Obama backed last year.

The irony certainly hasn’t been lost on Obama or his political team either.  The president has been heaping praise on Romney lately for passing the Massachusetts bill, and on Monday, after his exploratory committee announcement, the Democratic National Committee sent a flurry of emails highlighting the timing.

“If I was getting dogged with this story, I'd seek a distraction too,” DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse wrote in one of the missives, “like maybe announcing a Presidential Exploratory Committee, perhaps.”

The DNC’s Woodhouse included a photograph of Romney signing the Massachusetts health care law with former Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy squarely in the shot along with no fewer than two dozen news clippings pointing out how Democrats were mocking the five-year anniversary of what they like to refer to as “Romneycare.”

A source close to Romney said the timing of his announcement proves “he is ready to talk about it” and “draw contrasts on present and future.”

Another Romney adviser simply said: “In our view, any day is a good day to talk about jobs and the economy."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Republican Governors Issue Complaint over Federal Health Care Law

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Twenty-one Republican governors sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday detailing how and why they would like President Obama's health care reform law to be changed.

This move follows a ruling last month by a Florida court which decided the health care overhaul was unconstitutional but did not urge any action to stop its implementation.

The letter signed by the governors presents Sebelius with a six-point plan which is focused around returning power over health care implementation to the individual states.

"We hope the administration will accommodate our states' individual circumstances and needs, as we believe the (law) in its current form threatens to destroy our budgets and perpetuate and magnify the most costly aspects of our health care system," the governors wrote.

The group argues that states should have been allowed more input on the law.

While the GOP governors were busy making their case, the White House also responded Monday afternoon. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs offered examples of where the new law was already being put into action.

"Last week the state of Wisconsin, despite the attorney general’s participation in the lawsuit, the state of Wisconsin announced that the implementation moves forward.  And I would point out that one of the statehouses in the Commonwealth of Virginia passed by a vote, I think, of 95-3 to begin setting up health care exchanges.  I think that's pretty clear indications that the implementation of this important law move forward," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.

The governors of both Virginia and Wisconsin are Republicans. Republican governors from eight states, including Alaska, Arizona, Florida, North Dakota, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia, and Wyoming, did not sign the letter. Gibbs said it was likely President Obama had not addressed the letter as of Monday.

"I don't know that we have had specific outreach. I know the Governors Association is in town later this month.  But our policy has and continues to be that implementation moves forward," said Gibbs, hinting at a possible meeting between President Obama and some of the nation's top Republicans.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Kansas Attorney General Asks to Add State to Health Care Lawsuit

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TOPEKA, Kan.) -- Attorney General Derek Schmidt of Kansas sent a letter Wednesday to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi asking that Kansas be allowed to join the lawsuit which challenges the constitutionality of the nation’s recently passed health care reform law. The request fulfills a campaign promise Schmidt made to add Kansas to the long list of states opposed to federal health care.

“This lawsuit is about standing up for the rule of law and protecting the liberties guaranteed by our Constitution. Our federal government is designed to be a government of limited, enumerated powers, and we do not believe it has the power to order citizens into commerce so it can then regulate their conduct under authority of the Commerce Clause.  Whatever the merits or demerits of health care reform, the ends cannot justify an unconstitutional means,” Schmidt said.

Kansas joins the list of states requesting to join the lawsuit, originally filed in federal district court in Florida, along with Ohio, Wisconsin and Wyoming. If all of those states are added, 26 in total would have pending legal action against the health care law.

Schmidt said he believes the questionable constitutionality of the original health care bill is so important that it will eventually land on the desks of Supreme Court justices.

"This is an historic defining of the relationship among our federal government, the states, and the liberty of individual American citizens.  For those of us who believe that not all wisdom resides in Washington and, therefore, neither should all power, this is a constitutional fight worth fighting,” Schmidt said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama ‘Would Veto’ Health Care Repeal

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) – In his first veto threat of the new Congress, President Obama has said he will veto the heath care repeal if it comes to his desk.

In a statement of administrative policy, the Office of Budget and Management said House passage of the repeal would “explode the deficit, raise costs for the American people and businesses, deny an estimated 32 million people health insurance, and take us back to the days when insurers could deny, limit or drop coverage for any American.”

The Congressional Budget Office on Thursday released a preliminary analysis that a repeal of the Health Care Reform law, including reduced spending on Medicare, would cost $145 billion through the end of the decade, and $230 billion by 2021.

Speaker of the House John Boehner dismissed the report, saying that Congress needs to hold true to campaign promises to repeal the legislation.

 “We made a commitment to the American people. We're listening to the American people,” Boehner said. “They want this bill repealed. And we are going to repeal it, and we're going to do everything we can over the course of however long it takes to stop this, because it will ruin the best health care system in the world, it will bankrupt our nation and it will ruin our economy.”

The OMB said that if the legislation makes it to the President’s desk, “he would veto it.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Boehner Dismisses Report Health Care Repeal Increases Deficit

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Speaker of the House John Boehner dismissed a report by the Congressional Budget Office that found that repealing the health care law would increase the federal deficit.

Boehner warned Thursday that the “best health care system in the world is going to go down the drain” if Congress fails to repeal the law.

Earlier Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office released a preliminary analysis that the repeal of the Health Care Reform law, including reduced spending on Medicare, would cost $145 billion through the end of the decade and $230 billion by 2021.

Shortly after the CBO released its report, Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Republicans responded by releasing their own report that examined the economic and fiscal consequences of the health care law on the economy and federal budget.

“I do not believe that repealing the job-killing health care law will increase the deficit,” said Boehner, R-Ohio, saying it is Congress’s responsibility to come through on campaign promises.

“We made a commitment to the American people. We're listening to the American people,” Boehner said. “They want this bill repealed. And we are going to repeal it, and we're going to do everything we can over the course of however long it takes to stop this, because it will ruin the best health care system in the world, it will bankrupt our nation and it will ruin our economy.”

The report comes as Boehner responds to requests from the Obama administration and the Treasury Department to raise the limit on the national deficit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Boehner Challenges Constitutionality of Health Reform Law

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner, R-Ohio, filed an amicus brief Tuesday challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the health care law passed by Democrats earlier this year.

“ObamaCare is a job-killer, and our economy simply cannot afford this unprecedented, unconstitutional power grab by the federal government,” Boehner stated Tuesday evening. “That is why Republicans will continue standing with the American people and fighting to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with better solutions put forth in the Pledge to America to lower health care costs and protect American jobs.”

Boehner’s amicus brief was filed in support of a lawsuit brought by 20 state attorneys general and the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), the nation’s largest small business association. The brief seeks to overturn what Boehner says is a “government takeover of health care that is costing jobs, increasing costs, and jeopardizing coverage for millions of Americans.”

“I’m proud to join these states and the NFIB in their ongoing effort to overturn this job-killing health care law and protect American workers from its devastating impact,” Boehner said.

Republican aides privately speculate that Boehner could use the first bill of the next session of Congress to repeal health care.

Last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, asked Senate Republicans to join him in signing onto a similar amicus brief that outlined his argument against the constitutionality of the health care law. McConnell is expected to file the brief later this week.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 


Opposition to Health Reform Hasn’t Helped Democrats Avoid Tough Races

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The health care reform law that passed in March has remained one of the most divisive issues of this campaign season.  While most Democrats heralded it as a major achievement and Republicans have pledged to repeal it, the political consequences of voting for the bill are unclear, especially for Democrats in moderate and conservative districts.

A vote against health care reform seems unlikely to protect conservative Democrats from what is expected to be a difficult November.

Thirty-four Democrats voted against the bill and more than half of those – 23 – are now in competitive races.  Twelve of the “no” votes are in races considered toss-ups and one representative, Chet Edwards, D-Texas, is in a race that leans toward his Republican opponent, Bill Flores.

 “That vote has not become the defining issue of vulnerability,” said Nathan Gonzales, the Political Editor of the Rothenberg Political Report. “The biggest issues are the economy and jobs and the overall direction of the country.  People are dissatisfied with the way the country and the economy are headed and are taking it out on the party in power.”

Gonzales cited the House races in North and South Dakota, in which one Democratic representative, Earl Pomeroy, voted for the bill and his colleague to the south, Democratic Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, voted against the healthcare bill.  Both are now in competitive races.

Twelve of the “no” votes are in toss-up races, according to ABC News’ October 8th race ratings.

Additionally, there were nine Democrats who voted both for and against health reform at various stages of the lawmaking process.  Six of those representatives are in competitive races.

Voting for health reform has not helped Democrats either.  As of right now, “the public divides evenly between support for and opposition to the health care reform bill, with greater intensity on the opposition side, independents more apt to be opposed, and likely voters likewise more skeptical than the public at large," said Gary Langer, director of Langer Research Associates, a polling provider for ABC News. “It does not look at all like a net vote-getter.  But again, it never has.”

Only one House Democrat has produced a political ad touting their vote – Scott Murphy, of New York, one of the Congressmen who voted against an early version of the bill and for the version that became law.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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