Republicans hold 39th vote to undermine Obamacare

Yesterday, House Republicans voted two more times to undercut the Affordable Care Act – their 38th and 39th efforts to gut Obamacare.

As part of the historic health care reform bill that Congress passed and President Obama signed into law in 2010, the roughly 4% of all American businesses with more than 50 employees will be required to offer health care coverage to their workers.

And earlier this month, the Obama administration announced that it would delay implementation of the employer mandate until 2015 – a move that is expected to allow those businesses affected by the law to transition properly.

But rather than work with Democrats to ensure the law is implemented in a way that benefits as many families as possible, Republicans in the House are playing politics and holding yet another round of votes to undermine health care reform – votes that have literally no chance of ever becoming law.

What’s so disturbing is that this has become the rule, rather than the exception for Washington Republicans. Ever since taking control of the House, Republican leaders have refused to work across the aisle to put people back to work and pass a real jobs bill. Instead, they keep going back to the same well – offering political red meat that satisfies their Tea Party base but doesn’t offer a plan to put middle class families back to work.

The White House criticized this latest round of efforts to relitigate the health care debate, saying that it “strongly” opposes the two bills offered by House Republicans because they “would cost millions of hard-working middle class families the security of affordable health coverage and care they deserve.”

The Affordable Care Act is already providing concrete benefits for residents of Rhode Island’s First Congressional District, according to a staff report prepared this month by Democrats on the House Committees on Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and the Workforce. According to this report, 146,000 residents of the First Congressional District now have health insurance that covers preventive services without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductible; 27,000 children with pre-existing conditions are no longer denied health care coverage; 4,600 young adults can stay on their parents’ health care plans; and 7,300 seniors have received $8.8 million in prescription drug discounts.

We can’t afford to go back to the time when health insurance companies controlled our health care system. House Republican leaders should put away the political campaign slogans and partisan gamesmanship, and get serious about governing.

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