Belo Debate Topic (10/2): Health Care Reform




Posted on October 2, 2012 at 6:34 PM

DALLAS – Inside President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act sit a few touted features meant to boost affordability of aspects of health care for young Americans and the elderly. 

The health care reform bill requires all citizens to have some form of health insurance or face a penalty. This is known as the individual mandate and was upheld by the Supreme Court in June under the argument that the penalty is really a tax.

Speaking at an event in Willis this summer, Texas Tribune reporter Aman Batheja quoted Senate frontrunner Ted Cruz as saying, “I’ll throw my body in front of a train to stop anything short of its complete and total repeal.” 

If, as Cruz desires, Obamacare is completely repealed, more than 357,000 young Texans under 26-years-old who are now allowed to piggyback on their parents’ health insurance will be dropped. Previously, young men and women were only allowed to remain on their parents’ plans until they were 19, unless they were enrolled in college. 

The 2.2 million people on Medicare who received free preventative services –– including mammograms and colonoscopies –– under the Affordable Care Act would cease, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Those stats also note that 3.4 million Texan women now have access to these sorts of services without policy cost sharing.  

And the $223.4 million in drug savings for Medicare-eligible seniors would dry up. The reform law gave 221,395 seniors a $250 rebate to help cover prescription drug costs, saving them $223.4 million since the law was enacted, again according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. 

If repealed, those rebates would go away. 

However, a Congressional Budget Office report published last month estimates that more uninsured people than first predicted will be hit by the penalty tax. Most of those people are in the middle class –– the exact group of people who President Obama promised no tax increases upon.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the entire Affordable Care Act by declaring the individual mandate penalty a tax. Both Cruz and his challenger Paul Sadler issued statements on the decision. We’ve posted both of them below, courtesy Cruz’ and Sadler’s campaign websites: 

Former State Rep. and Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate Paul Sadler: 

“This morning the Supreme Court, following the rule of law, handed down its decision regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 

The decision of the Supreme Court is a great victory for the citizens of this country who already have insurance, as well as those in need of healthcare.  There are many provisions, as I have previously outlined, that are vast improvements to the system, and offer important benefits to the American public.  Those benefits include the elimination of the pre-existing condition exception, women are finally being treated equally and not as if they have a pre-existing condition, our children can remain on our insurance coverage until age 26, senior citizens are provided an annual screening and it closes the donut hole for prescription medication, it also creates greater efficiencies by coordinating chronic care, just to name a few. 

Republican suggestions that we should repeal the Act take away valuable healthcare rights, which this legislation has provided to all of us.  While I recognize that the Act is not perfect and can be improved, it is essential that we keep the benefits we have gained, and therefore I salute the opinion of the United States Supreme Court. 

I look forward to the opportunity to debate the Republican candidate to the U.S. Senate on this issue.”

Former Texas Solicitor General and Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Ted Cruz: 

"This is a sad day for liberty. The Supreme Court has abdicated its responsibility to safeguard the Constitution, and it has rewritten Obamacare in an ill-advised attempt to save it. 

Today's decision underscores what we have been saying all along: the solution to Obamacare will come from the people. All across America, citizens are rising up to take back our country, to defend liberty, and to roll back the out-of-control federal government. 

Today's decision makes this Senate race in Texas all the more important. My opponent is, by nature and by over a decade of political office, a conciliator. Now is not a time for conciliation. The Senate will be the battleground on Obamacare, and I intend to lead the fight to repeal every word of it. 

Today's decision will only strengthen the Tea Party movement – a great awakening that is sweeping the nation. 

Five federal judges have had their say. Now it's the American people's turn.”

Culled from third-party sources: