Republicans still tussling over Affordable Care Act
JA'PHETH TOULSON Special to the AmNews | 7/19/2012, 3:47 p.m.
Even after the Supreme Court's historic decision to uphold the mandate of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans continue to push for a repeal through the House of Representatives.
"There's no way that the court's decision is going to be overturned by their political shenanigans," said Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York's 6th Congressional District .
Meeks believes the GOP should use this time to focus on advising plans to create more jobs for the American people, rather than "wasting time and money." He said Republicans should instead be helping President Barack Obama, since job creation and boosting the economy have been goals that he has campaigned for.
"We [Democrats] know that [Republicans] are not really trying to come up with an outcome...they're playing politics and trying to do whatever they can to stop the agenda of President Obama," Meeks said.
The court's ruling maintains the requirement that all people acquire health insurance. They declared that the federal government has the power to require all Americans to acquire insurance if the fine imposed on those who don't is considered a tax.
The Affordable Care Act, enacted by Obama in 2010, allows 3.1 million Americans to stay on their parents' coverage until age 26. According to a press briefing from the Community Service Society, more than 160,000 young adults in New York have gained insurance through their parents' plans.
"More than any other statistic, the Supreme Court decision ensures that the state and the nation will be physically and economically healthier," said David Jones, president and CEO of the Community Service Society. "Health care costs have been the major cause for individual bankruptcies across the country. Emergency rooms have been filled with the uninsured of all ages who could find no other care."
The law also provides access to affordable health coverage, which is especially important for African-Americans. In 2008, 19 percent of African-Americans were uninsured, compared to the national average of all racial and ethnic groups of 15 percent and 11 percent for non-Hispanic whites. In addition, the cost of insurance for small businesses will be drop between 5 to 22 percent. Small businesses will continue to get tax credits to help pay for up to 50 percent of health insurance costs for their employees.
However, Republican New York City Council Member Dan Holloran said small city businesses operate within a margin between 8 to 12 percent. "That means all small businesses are going to lose their profitability margins," he said. "Once they lose that margin, why do you want to hire somebody? Why do you want to employ somebody? Why do you want to open the doors?"
With a 9.7 unemployment rate in New York City, which is a point below the national average, Holloran said this can't possibly help out the economy. "Now if they could do that here in New York City, imagine what the consequences will be across the country," he said.
Rep. Robert Turner, who represents the 9th District of New York, agreed.
"While declared constitutional, the Supreme Court's ruling does not change the fact that it is still a very bad law," Turner said. "Congress has already found many mandates in Obamacare that would hurt small businesses and kill jobs. Several more taxes and burdensome regulations on small businesses are set to go into effect in the next two years. Congress must now rededicate itself to appealing Obamacare and replacing it with commonsense proposals that will lower health care costs for all Americans."