More than half of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll say Congress should repeal the landmark health care law enacted last year, or at least parts of it.
This compares with 18 percent who say the bill should remain in its current form and 22 percent who want its provisions to be expanded.
During the fall campaign, Republicans vowed to try to repeal the law. The GOP-sponsored “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” soon will be put to a vote in the House of Representatives, where Republicans now hold the majority.
To be enacted, it also would need to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate, and then supporters in the House and Senate would need to override a certain veto by President Barack Obama.
Some provisions of the law have taken effect—for example, uninsured adults with pre-existing conditions now can get coverage in high-risk pools—but many major elements will be implemented over the next several years.
This week’s results suggest attitudes about the health care legislation have changed little since the president signed it last March. In an RBJ Snap Poll conducted at the time, 59 percent of readers opposed the new law.
More than 975 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted Jan. 10 and 11.
What should Congress do with the landmark health care law?
Repeal the law entirely: 37%
Repeal parts of the law: 23%
Leave the law as it is: 18%
Expand the law: 22%
Here are some comments from readers:
Let’s get into the 21st century and have total coverage for all LEGAL residents. We also need to stop giving people older than 85 expensive health care for procedures that only extend their life until the NEXT crises. I’m 56 and know my time is coming and believe me if I get to 85 I’d be happy to forego the major life extending procedure. Some of these seniors have lived way beyond their life expectancy and should do the honorable thing.
Congress should repeal the law entirely and then get out of the health care business! The health insurance market should be a free market. We should be able to choose our own insurance plans, ones which suit our needs regardless of where we live, and make our own decisions about our health. Let health insurance become competitive and watch the rates go down. Then it would really become an affordable product! I can’t believe it’s not obvious by now to the entire country: Government involvement always increases prices.
Finally a law that provides some benefits to citizens of our great country, and not just to health care and insurance lobbyists and investors. The Congressional Budget Office tells us that the programs will reduce health care costs in the long term. Let’s trust this non-partisan bureaucracy and move forward and not move backward again. I am sure there is room for improvement in the law, but under no circumstances should it be repealed. That would be a colossal mistake.
—John Osowski, Brighton
You don’t provide a category for what is really needed, a complete overhaul of the health care system, replacing the current law. Repealing it makes people think no more action is needed, and leaving it as it is doesn’t get us there either. A system where every man, woman and child is covered by a basic insurance, privately offered, with supplemental insurance available, plus a smart card as in France, Taiwan and elsewhere, which would cut administrative costs to a fraction of present levels would be good. We could then do away with the health care part of workers’ compensation, the Veterans Administration, Medicaid, Medicare, etc., which now constitutes one of the most socialized health care systems in the world.
—Bryan Hickman, Coach and Equipment Manufacturing Corp.
Since no one really knows what’s in its 2,000 pages (if anyone thinks Louise Slaughter actually read it before cramming it through Congress, I’ve got a bridge to sell you), Congress should repeal it entirely and start over without the hysterics on both sides. One thing we know for sure is that insurance rates are rising faster than ever because of Obamacare, so the promises of lower costs are already proving wrong. Let’s hit the reset button.
Look around the globe. Countries with single-payer health care have better outcomes for lower cost. That’s the direction we need to go.
There are some good aspects to the current health care law. But … I would rather they take small steps and look at certain parts of health care delivery and try and fix those rather than a broad sweep. As of now, the current federal regulations on Medicare health providers add to the cost. For every hour a Medicare health provider spends with a patient, another two hours are spent on documentation.
After a year of review and analysis since the law was passed, more and more details keep emerging. I’m convinced that this is bad legislation for all of us. When lawmakers don’t even begin to know the details included in this bill, I think we are all in trouble. My hope is that it will be found unconstitutional and any future health care legislation be enacted by the states—not the federal government.
—Todd Baker, Pioneer Print & Copy Inc.
So much of the hype related to this bill is just political rhetoric. The truth is there is much value to many parts of this bill (and problems with a few others). It is also true that it did not go far enough to reduce costs. Let’s hope that level heads prevail, that the GOP can take a less radical view and that our representatives do not throw the baby out with the bath water.
—Joe Leone, Sheet Metal Workers
No piece of legislation is perfect, especially one as all-encompassing as the health care law. Repealing the law would harm many people, but improvements can be made to it. One must receive health care in order to have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This should be for all Americans and not a select few. Improve the law; don’t repeal it.
—Donald A. Dinero, TWI Learning Partnership
I personally believe this country has needed to do something to provide better health care coverage for people who are not getting health care through their employers. We have one of the finest health care systems in the world, but still there are too many residents in this nation who cannot use these services because they don’t have health insurance. I think the current law was a dramatic first step on a long road that will enable us to develop a model that best meets the needs of the underserved. Emergency rooms are being used as walk-in clinics because people do not have preventive health care access. Finding better ways to rebalance public access to health care will ultimately save money for everyone! All of us can help in the refinement of this initial system by communicating more about our health care needs and challenges to our representatives, so they will be guided in their efforts to refine what is there. Our current system does not work; something had to be done!
—Daryl M. Dickson, Dickson Consulting
Granted, we do need health care reform. However, this should be done to actually reduce the cost of health care, not just shift the cost to the taxpayers. We need to start by reforming malpractice law so that doctors do not prescribe unneeded procedures, consultations, referrals and drugs just to cover their butts in the event of a lawsuit. We need to reform the pharmaceutical industry so that it does not encourage the use of drugs that are not needed. Although we in the Rochester area are blessed with wonderful health care, some regions are not. We need to make changes so that the quality of health care is brought up to this level nationwide. In addition, we must streamline the process of approving new and proven treatments, both to reduce research and development costs and to make the treatment available to patients who need it. Why should new treatments be approved in Europe years before the United States? Finally, we must not impose mandated health care upon the citizenship. This is not constitutional!
—Ted Miller, president, AVIK Technologies Inc.
It makes me sick to see uninsured mothers begging and pleading for money on TV to take care of their sick children. All civilized countries in the world have health care plans to ensure the health and well-being of their citizens. We are the richest nation in the world and yet the most uncaring when it comes to taking care of its own citizens. Our politicians are quick at spending billions for war and destruction but couldn’t care less about improving the health, and education for that matter, of their own citizens. It hinges on barbaric.
Congress could hold funding for some government agencies hostage in order to extract some concessions and could decide to pull funding from the new Health and Human Services Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. Another avenue is to attach the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act changes to some “must-pass” legislation like the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate fix. The SGR is legislation passed in 1997 and ties the Medicare physician fee schedule to a formula that will allow Medicare to survive. Each year, it has called for a reduction in physician fees, and each year for the past 12 years, Congress has passed a bill putting off the fee schedule cut. This year’s cut was put off temporarily again, and lawmakers will need to vote on it. I’m not sure if they’ll attach a PPACA change amendment to this and dare the Senate to kill it, but who knows? Most likely change early in 2011 will be a repeal or at least modification to the 1009 provision. The bottom line is the PPACA isn’t going away anytime soon, but there may be modifications down the road.
—Martin Z. Johnson, Rose & Kiernan Inc.
Hey everyone. Really, seriously, is there any question what should be done with this bill? Maybe this time they will read it page for page, understand what is really there. Get rid of the add-ons and earmarks. Keep the good items in the bill that will truly benefit the "greater good" not the "special few,” and glean the crap.
—Jim Duke, Victor
Republicans in Congress claim they’re against anything that adds to the deficit, and then turn right around and demand that this law be repealed, an action that would increase the deficit! If this isn’t proof that they’re hypocrites more interested in power than in consistency, nothing is!
—Matthew D. Wilson
The proposed reform isn’t perfect, but we have to start somewhere. To go back to the beginning would be counterproductive. It’s time to build on the foundation that’s been started.
—Nancy May, APPC
The law has some good things, and some things that could definitely be improved. They should not repeal it, but simply rework it with a bipartisan committee. (Yeah, like that’s gonna happen!)
—Rick Corey, OpticsProfessionals LLC
How about "correct the law"? The debate over health care has been going on for decades. The three issues that have always been presented to me are 1) access; 2) cost; and 3) quality. Access does not mean you don’t have to wait 12 hours in emergency to have a boo-boo looked at. It means that all members of society can get medical care when needed. When you realize that this is a utopian concept, you should set your sights on more achievable goals such as improving access, not legislating that we all get 100 percent access. What I have learned of the current legislation is that we will have less access like Canada, not more as promised. The only debate about the cost has been whether the legislation delivers care for more or less. Have you ever seen a government program cost less? By adding layers of administration, we have totally failed to address the cost issues that we the people were actually concerned about. Things like the high cost of prescription drugs, medical devices, etc. As for quality—despite what tubby people with ball caps and poor personal grooming might say—we do have extremely high quality of care. Of course, we demand it and then whine about the cost. The president is not going to sign a repeal of the only accomplishment he has. Let us not waste resources her. Let us get to work corrected the legislation’s many flaws, both known and unknown. How can we improve access, lower costs and enhance quality? What I read is that our twits in Congress will punt this one down the road. We need to hold their feet to the fire if something is not accomplished by the next election. We need bipartisan voting and get the bums out. That reminds me of a saying by Mark Twain. "Suppose you were a member of Congress and suppose you were an idiot, but I repeat myself."
—Bill Lanigan, Chamberlin Rubber
There are some legitimate items being addressed by the reform law, however, there is a whole lot that should be thrown out!
—J.A. DePaolis, Penfield
The health care bill was poorly conceived. The supporters of the bill claim that it will save $130 billion. Instead, recent estimates show that $700 billion will be added to the deficit. The bill did not address tort reform. It takes $500 billion to $700 billion dollars from senior Medicare programs to fund the non-income-tax-paying non-seniors, puts taxes on existing health plans, medical —equipment, tanning, etc. The biggest benefits won’t take place until three to four years after the government grab. It will create rationing because many doctors will be taking early retirement or will opt out of reimbursement programs. Also, Congressional supporters of the bill gave exemptions to some large unions and selected large corporations who were their political allies. Over 99 percent of people already had health care, which could not be taken away because of preexisting conditions. Forcing citizens to have coverage under threat of fine or worse is unconstitutional. Hidden inside the bill is a requirement for small businesses to issue a 1099 for small expenditure for $600 or more annually. The amount of paperwork that will be added will be enormous and thousands of new IRS agents are being hired to enforce these provisions. Buried in this bill was a takeover of the private student loan industry by the government. Now that we know what’s in the health care bill, let’s start from scratch!
—John Rynne, president, Rynne, Murphy and Associates, Inc.
The health care law will need adjustments and refinements. That will not necessarily "expand" the law, but will make it stronger and more cost-effective. Addressing health care reform is complex, but at least we’re starting down that road.
—Carolyn Phinney Rankin, president, Phinney Rankin Inc.
This bill was rushed through on a partisan vote. There is bipartisan support for repeal, and the House and Senate should honor the wishes of almost 70 percent of the American public. Let the president veto this so we can watch him disregard the will of the people.
—Dan Ambrose, Ambrose Mechanical Services Corp.
Repeal the health care law to what? The Republican “plan” that resulted in business as usual for insurance companies and the oppressive donut hole for seniors. No one asks to have a health or medical problem, and yet we pay for health services as if we were going into a restaurant. Health care is not optional, it is a necessity. Insurance companies have been allowed without any checks or balances to increase fees, prevent medical services and prohibit coverage for many people. This health care bill attempts to provide health care “assurance” for people. If the perspective from the global medical industry was providing goods and services that served people versus how much can be made, a more equitable and compassionate health care environment would arise. This bill attempts to right the many wrongs of our existing health care industry and solve some of our problems.
Any landmark law requires revision, and revision is on the agenda. Repealing it leaves too many people in the lurch.
—Jon Wilder, H & W Technology
Get rid of this fiasco as quickly as possible. It is government intervention that skewed the health care industry in the first place. Competition, supply, demand and service should rule the day. Not lobbyists paying off politicians to create false markets to maximize and monopolize the industry. Even with its flaws, the USA has the best health care in the world. What makes anyone think that our government having control of this industry makes it better? For who? Look at education, Social Security, welfare, Freddie, Fannie, and on and on. Gotta quit being "sheeple" and not let the few make the rules. These people couldn’t run a newsstand (no offense to newsstand owners). We didn’t hire these idiots to change our Constitution, so let’s not let them! For those of you without an opinion, the details of the health care law are online (you know, the one that had to pass so we could find out what’s in it). This is way more than making sure someone takes care of you if you get sick (think about that). Health Care Law? Law? Really? And how did education get into this and the IRS? Be very afraid! Repeal this power, money, control grab!
Government should not mandate free choice actions by citizens. Those portions of the law that violate free choice options and the free market place should be repealed.
—Robert Zinnecker, Penfield
As there are parts of the law that are definitely a step forward, there does not need to be a repeal of it in its entirety. However, I have yet to see a legitimate proposal from the Republicans that would replace those elements that are most controversial. Just saying "NO" doesn’t cut it, I think.
Repeal and replace is the overall best approach although in reality with our current president an incremental repeal and replace strategy is probably the only viable approach. If we are lucky, the courts will take it out and Congress will be confronted with implementing something that addresses the healthcare reform issues in a more rational way.
—Dave Coriale, Webster
Requiring someone to buy health insurances does seem to be unenforceable. There are those who can self-insure. There does need to be an option for low cost health insurance for those who do not have jobs or benefits that include medical coverage.
There are some key elements of the Health Care bill that no one is against, but they could be covered with far less rules and regulations that accompany the current 2,000-page-plus bill. The Republicans had some great ideas to simplify the rules but we were all railroaded with a huge package by Pelosi and Reid. One of the results of that was the huge turnover of seats in the House in the last election. The Bill is so complex not even those that voted for it can explain it, get rid of it! And enact simple rules covering what we need, do it a bit at a time if necessary. Prior to the Health Care Reform there was a shortage of doctors, that hasn’t changed, make it less expensive for those who want to be doctors; we need more of them. Malpractice insurance is a huge reason for doctors moving to other states or going into other fields or retiring completely. Burn that bill, get off your self-serving asses and pass a bill that makes sense without costing us billions.
—Nigel Heaton, Marni Spring Corp.
While I don’t think this health care law is perfect, it’s a good start. The motivation by Republicans to repeal this law is pure politics—considering that many of the provisions were discussed and supported by Republicans during the Bush Administration. To argue against health care when one has health care is easier than supporting health care for others who do not have affordable access to health care. The argument that small businesses will suffer because of this law is bogus. Many I know running small businesses or startups welcome the opportunity to provide health care benefits to their employees.
Enough with the insurance companies! It’s time to offer a full-fledged public option so some true competition can exist. Let Medicare negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical companies and establish a reasonable price level for all medicine. No true cost control will be possible as long we must negotiate through a maze of public, private, for-profit and so-called not-for-profit options.
—John Perry Smith, Total Information, Inc.
Our government representatives have gotten out of touch with the people they represent. At this point why waste MORE time on a law that was already passed when there are so many other issues facing our country right now. Is the law perfect? Heck no. Should the law stay as is? Again, heck no. But, I would rather see my representatives focus on issues such as job creation, the archaic tax system that continues to get more difficult to understand, etc.
Everyone in this country needs to have health insurance and to be responsible for it. We already pay for the care of those who are uninsured. Let the new law stand and let’s stop pretending. Everyone who drives has to have auto insurance to protect ourselves and others. Everyone who has health (life) should have to do the same. Health care is just too expensive for anyone to go without— and our personal health DOES impact society at large, either economically or in terms of the diseases we can pass on.
—Ann Tracy, Pittsford
Aren’t we all tired yet of the GOP saying no, no, no? The president and the Democrats were elected on a platform of change—and health care is a primary candidate. The GOP shot down Hillary Clinton’s reforms decades ago, they failed to even address the subject with George Bush, and now they want to carry on protecting big business health care profits at the expense of solid health care for all citizens. Don’t repeal—take the good points and make it better! It’s time for real change.
—Richard Stevenson, co-founder and CEO, CobbleSoft International Ltd.
I’m no expert on “health care reform” but it seems to me the Republicans did NOTHING while they were in power, despite a recognized need for a fix. Then, when the new administration made something happen, all they did was whine about how poorly conceived it was. I’m sure there’s a word to describe that scenario, but it’s not “leadership.” Let cooler heads prevail. Tweak what’s in place. Don’t waste time grandstanding, trying to repeal something that will surely not be overridden.
It’s a time bomb. Repeal is the only real way to fix the bill. Two-thousand pages of spending and government growth. The negative effects will not be fully felt for years, both for the clients and taxpayers. Reduction in services, rationing, higher costs, worse care in the end. As someone who has experienced the Canadian system numerous times, I can tell you this is your future. Look to all the socialist systems in Europe for the failure model. Now we have that. The solution to insure the last 13 percent is not to ruin the system that works for 87 percent. You could fund that 13 percent easily with a creative high-deductable system that puts all public employees and teachers on the same high-deductable system that most in the private-sector live with. It does not prevent care but makes the user more responsible for the costs. Take the savings in the Cadillac plans that public employees have and apply it to the uninsured. By the way, that’s what I have. A high-deductable plan.
—K. D. Schuler
Absolutely no repeal! Repeal would take us back to the absolute control of our health care by the financial bottom line, greed, increase of profit margins, rat poisoning, and elimination by neglect of the poor, aging, unemployed and other undesirables. I do not object to the notion that the law should be improved. After all, to get it passed, like any other law, many diverse opinions, blackmailing, and one-subject objections had to be aligned. This was known from the beginning. But after a long struggle, with no visible input from the D.C. Republicans, except filibusters, the law was passed. If the health care law should be repealed, no improvement in health care will be possible for at least the next 50 years. Many U.S. citizens will die of lack of health care. The Republican drive to repeal instead of improvement is the most despicable treatment of the American people. The propaganda that our health care system (as a whole) is the best in the world is based on ignorance, misguided patriotism and lies. I am praying that the Republican desire to destroy this helpful, though not perfect, law will be denied. I am hoping though, that it will be improved for the benefit of the American people, instead for the benefit of greedy leaders of monster businesses and institutions.
—Ingo H. Leubner, Crystallization Consulting
The sheer size and complexity of this is a disaster. The solution: Start over and fix the broken parts. Start with tort reform, include sharply higher co-pays and eliminate coverage for any patient discretionary procedures.
The concept of repeal is absurd, political and an anathema to those who have waited for more than 100 years for our government to act on this critical policy issue. What we have is far from perfect and needs tweaking, improving, etc. But repealing it would likely put us back in the same deadlock that caused 100 years of inaction and spiraling health care costs and decreasing health care outcomes.
Let’s start over. The current Obamacare is a confusing 2,000-page pile of paper that was pushed through on Christmas Eve without discussion or clarification by a Congress that does not even read it. Costs too much. Government has never successfully managed programs without cost overruns. Let’s keep medical coverage private and competitive.
More than 2,600 pages that no-one had time to read—not even any of the multilayer changes. Pelosi and our beloved Slaughter said read it after you pass it? I am a project manager by trade and you can’t tell me that the health care bill could not have been written concisely in understandable English not legalese with about 20 pages. So let’s give them the benefit of the doubt 200 pages. To this day, I still don’t understand what the government takeover of private student loans has to do with the health care law? I have many more questions than any answers that were ever provided (NOT) by any of our elected legislators, senators, congress or president, etc.?
—Greg Palis, self-unemployed project manager
The law addresses a basic problem in the U.S. —lack of medical insurance by tens of millions of people and lack of adequate health insurance by tens of millions more. One way this fact can be tested for accuracy is life expectancy. Per the CIA Book of Facts, the U.S. is No. 49 in life expectancy ratings. That is, people in 48 other countries live longer than people in the U.S. This is inconsistent with our perception of the U.S. being THE world leader that others should emulate. No doubt there is room for improvement to the new health law but its better then where we have come from. If someone has a better alternative to the new health care legislation let them speak-up now. To be against a proposed solution to a problem without offering an alternative solution is irresponsible.
The only amendments I’d like to see are real competition for the health insurance firms and pharmaceutical firms. One of the ways to drive costs (i.e. premiums) down would be true competition; none currently exists. These firms like it just the way it is now. Does anyone really believe we should go back?
I am interested in seeing some constructive proposals for continuing to improve health care reform. What I am not interested in is scrapping what progress has been made so far for misguided ideological or partisan purposes without constructive counter proposals. If left unchecked the free market will continue to exploit the health care needs of the citizens of this country. Quality health care is a basic human right the same as freedom of speech and the right to bear arms. Quality health care should not be a resource for profiteering. I am outraged at the "I’ve got mine, so to hell with you" selfish mentality that has permeated many important social welfare causes in the last few years. Support continuing health care reform and other social welfare causes. Contact your legislators and tell them to continue to come up with creative ways to accomplish this. It is your duty as a citizen of this great nation, a nation that could be better.
—Greg Reynolds, East Rochester
In light of recent events in Arizona, it seems we need stronger support for individuals with mental health issues. Private insurance companies are loath to provide comprehensive mental health coverage, so it’s up to government to ensure that mentally ill people get the help they need. Providing excellent health care for every American is far more vital to our national interests than waging wars on the other side of the world, which costs trillions of dollars, and yields no return on investment. In the long run, healthy, happy citizens will be far more productive and innovative and cost employers less than ill and dispirited ones.
—Frank Orienter, Rochester
Congress should really take a hard look (yes they should actually read the entire bill and discuss it) at ANY health care plan they enact. This plan is far too costly and has entirely too many unanswered questions.
Even if the law was bad for us, which of course it’s only bad for health insurance companies, it can’t be repealed so why waste the time when there must be important work to be done! How about Medicare for ALL so our citizens don’t suffer and die due to lack of insurance to pay for needed health care.
There’s way too much baggage attached to even begin to start mending it. Start over with something intelligent that doesn’t conceal hidden laws, agendas, earmarks, etc.
—Daniel Mossien, architect
Obamacare is not health reform. It is a law that will drive private insurance out of the medical insurance business, leaving only a single-payer system as our option. This is a drive to have a system like the one in England. I believe we should have universal coverage, so Obamacare needs to be replaced by a smarter system that includes tort reform and interstate competition so that we can actually do something about the cost of health care. This system, whatever it is, needs to be managed in the private sector. The government has never in its history been successful at running anything.
—Mike Kaser, Penfield
Any weak sections of the law can be selectively modified and improved. We need to ignore the crazed hyperbole and realize that the bill is fundamentally sound. Like any complex bill, it is imperfect, but that is why complex bills are continually improved upon. This is a market-based approach that is essentially the same approach that was promoted by Mitt Romney in Mass. and first developed by the Heritage Foundation. We need to ignore that inflammatory rhetoric that it is “socialist” and develop improvements to the bill in a mature and responsible fashion.
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