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Tea Party Darling Marco Rubio And 35 Other Candidates Sign Pledge To Repeal Health Care Reform

By Igor Volsky  

"Tea Party Darling Marco Rubio And 35 Other Candidates Sign Pledge To Repeal Health Care Reform"

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Marco Rubio As part of the GOP’s all-out-effort to repeal health care reform, the Club For Growth is asking lawmakers and candidates in the 2010 elections to “pledge to the people of my district/state to sponsor and support legislation to repeal any federal health care takeover passed in 2010, and replace it with real reforms that lower health care costs without growing government.” At least 17 lawmakers and 36 candidates have signed onto the repeal, including Florida “Tea Party” candidate Marco Rubio. “The proposed government takeover of health care being rammed through Congress runs contrary to the principles of limited government that have made Americans the freest and most prosperous people ever,” Rubio said:

As a U.S. senator, I will sponsor and support legislation to repeal any federal health care takeover passed in 2010, and replace it with real reforms that lower health care costs without growing government. This is not just about simply opposing and repealing the Obama-Reid-Pelosi agenda. This is about putting America back on a limited government track. This will require opposing new spending binges, but also turning back some of the mistakes made by President Obama and this Congress, including the pending health care bill.”

Unfortunately, Rubio’s arguments against reform are as specious as his “constitutionality” claims. The Congressional Budget Office has concluded that reform would result in “no significant change” in the federal government’s commitment to health care, and constitutional scholars from across the country argue that the Commerce Clause “permits Congress to regulate commerce, or actions that directly affect economic activity,” such as requiring Americans to purchase health insurance coverage.

The GOP’s health care industry-funded constitutional push is designed to attract campaign cash and get-out-the vote, but should their efforts succeed, the “pledging lawmakers” would be undermining the interests of their constituents. After all, the CBO has estimated that reform would insure as many as 31 million Americans and lower premiums for subsidized Americans in the exchange. A back-of-the envelope analysis conducted by ThinkProgress reveals that on average, the constituencies of the lawmakers and candidates who have signed the Club For Growth’s repeal pledge, have experienced higher than average premium increases, rates of uninsurance and annual percent growth in health care expenditures and insurance market concentration:

House lawmakers/candidates petition signers

Rate Of Uninsurance (2008) Annual  Growth (2008) Increase In Premiums 2000-2007 Top 2 Insurers

Lawmaker/
candidate

District
U.S. average 15.4% 6.7% 120% N/A
Texas 25.2% 7.4% 87% 68% Kenny Marchant TX-24
New Mexico 23.2% 7.2% 92% 65% Adam Kokesh NM-3
Florida 20.2% 7.1% 72% 45% Steve Southerland FL-2
Gus Bilirakis FL-9
Kansas 17.8% 6.4% 88% 56% Jerry Moran KS-1
Tim Huelskamp KS-1
Lynn Jenkins KS-2
Todd Tiahrt KS-4
Patricia Lightner KS-3
Louisiana 19.3% 5.7% 75% 74% Steve Scalise LA-1
Arizona 18.9% 7.7% 81% 65% Eric Wnuck AZ-5
Jeff Flake AZ-6
Colorado 16.2% 7.7% 75% 53% Doug Lamborn CO-2
Lang Sias CO-7
North Carolina 16% 8.6% 75% 73% Scott Keadle NC-10
Oklahoma 16% 6.7% 71% 62% Kevin Calvey OK-5
South Carolina 16.1% 7.8% 76% 75% J. Gresham Barrett SC-3
Jeff Duncan SC-3
U.S. average rate of uninsured 15.40%
Tennessee 14.8% 7.4% 62% 62% Jack Bailey TN-4
Robin Smith TN-3
Virginia 13.8% 7% 83% 61% Ben Loyola VA-2
Laurence Verga VA-5
Illinois 13.2% 6.1% 73% 69% Bobby Schilling IL-17
Randall Hultgren IL-14
David Ratowitz IL-5
Mark Kirk IL-10
Utah 13% 8.3% 85% 68% Jason Chaffetz UT-3
Alabama 12% 6.4% 79% 88% Martha Roby AL-2
Mo Brooks AL-5
Georgia 17.8% 7.2% 73% 69% Tom Graves GA-9
Steve Tarvin GA-9
Indiana 11.9% 6.8% 83% 75% Dan Burton IN-5
Michigan 11.7% 5.8% 78% 73% Fred Upton MI-6
Wayne Kuipers MI-2
Ohio 11.6% 6.4% 76% 58% Jim Renacci OH-16
Pennsylvania 9.8% 5.8% 86% N/A Steve Welch PA-6

Senate lawmakers/candidates petition signers

Rate Of Uninsurance (2008) Annual  Growth (2008) Increase In Premiums 2000-2007 Top 2 Insurers

Lawmaker/
candidate

U.S. average 15.4% 6.7% 120% N/A
Florida 20.2% 7.1% 72% 45% Marco Rubio
Louisiana 19.3% 5.7% 75% 74% David Vitter
Nevada 18% 10% 57% 55% Sharron Angle
Sue Lowden
Danny Tarkanian
Arkansas 17% 6.9% 66% 81% Curtis Coleman
South Carolina 16.1% 7.8% 76% 75% Jim DeMint
Oklahoma 16% 6.7% 71% 62% Tom Coburn
U.S. average rate of uninsured 15.40%
Kentucky 14.8% 7.5% 48% 69% Rand Paul
Trey Grayson
Illinois 13.2% 6.1% 73% 69% Patrick Hughes
Utah 13% 8.3% 85% 68% Mike Lee
Tim Bridgewater
Cherilyn Eagar
Missouri 12.6% 7% 76% 79% Chuck Purgason
New Hampshire 10.4% 7.6% 79% 75% Ovide Lamontagne

While Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has previously refused to acknowledge that Republicans would campaign in future elections on a platform of repealing health reform, Newt Gingrich has predicted that “every Republican running in ‘10 and again in ‘12 will run on an absolute pledge to repeal” the bill. On Wednesday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) “encouraged candidates to run on full-scale repeal of health reform” and Reps.Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) have indicated that “they will not campaign for full health care repeal but will demand partial repeal, including mandates for health coverage.” At least 14 states have announced that they would put the question of repealing reform on the ballot and 17 Attorneys General are also challenging the legislation.

Nick McClellan designed the table for this post.

Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.

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