As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell prepares to double down on the GOP’s commitment to repeal health care reform — going so far as to file an amicus brief in the ongoing multi-state lawsuit challenging the law — Democrats are sharpening their strategy to defend it.
Yesterday, during an address at the GTC BIO Conference, House and Energy Committee Charmian Henry Waxman (D-CA) highlighted the most popular consumer protections in the law, while framing the GOP strategy as an effort to take away those benefits and hand the health care system back to the insurance companies:
WAXMAN: Republicans always pose the question in terms of: Do you want to repeal “Obamacare?” They never pose these questions:
Do you want to repeal the requirement that insurers cover pre-existing conditions? That we forbid insurers from dropping coverage when you get sick? That we end lifetime limits on coverage? That we end the ability for your children to get coverage on your insurance policies through the age of 26?
And they never ask seniors:
Do you support ending the $250 subsidy those of you in the donut hole received this year, or the new 50% discount for brand name drugs you will get next year?
Do you support closing the donut hole altogether in 2020?
No, the Republicans don’t pose the questions on repeal in this manner – because they know the answers they will get from the American people.
Earlier in the speech, Waxman warned, “Last year, the Institute of Medicine issued a landmark report on the consequences of uninsurance. The report documents in exhaustive detail that a lack of health insurance coverage results in needless illness, suffering, and even death.” The comments may be part of a new offensive highlighting the costs and consequences of repeal. As The Hill’s Julian Pecquet reports, Democrats are sending around “a new report showing that 59.1 million Americans went without health insurance for at least part of the first three months of 2010 — a 400,000 increase over last year’s count from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).” “While GOP leaders are fighting to protect insurance companies,” the Senate Democratic Communications Center argues, “the Democrats will continue to fight to protect American families who deserve quality health care.”
Incidentally, as Ezra Klein highlighted in two charts yesterday, the individual elements of reform are in fact extremely popular and could represent the best chance for advocates to fend of the coming repeal campaign.