WASHINGTON — As the House starts debate on repealing President Barack Obama’s health care reform, the administration began rolling out its case for keeping the controversial law.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a study Tuesday that found that more than 129 million Americans under the age of 65 with preexisting health conditions — almost half the population — could be negatively affected by the repeal of health care reforms enacted last year.
The HHS report is one of many administration salesmanship efforts aimed at generating public support for health care reform. The Republican-controlled House is scheduled to vote on repealing the law as early as Wednesday.
For many GOP members, the vote will satisfy one promise to stop “Obamacare”. However, the Democrat-led Senate is also expected to reject the repeal, making this week’s House vote largely symbolic.
Between 2004 and 2007, the four biggest insurance agencies rejected 1 out 7 applications for health care plans due to preexisting health complications.
“But thanks to the protections in the Affordable Care Act, by 2014, they will have the freedom and security that comes with affordable coverage,” Sebelius said.
She then introduced people who said they would be hurt if the House repealed the health reforms. Donna Josephson, a mother from Florida, said the new laws offered her family a plan despite her son’s eye condition.
“Without insurance, treatment is delayed and denied and overall health deteriorates faster. With insurance, professionals can minimize impact and long-term costs [for patients]”, said Jenny Wagner, a nurse from Iowa.
The HHS release kicked off a slew of events anticipating the vote.
Former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Bill Frist, and former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland led a bipartisan effort to urge unity among state leaders on the health care issue. Later Tuesday, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, several of his House colleagues will be accepting thousands of petitions demanding the repeal of “ObamaCare.”
The House is scheduled to begin debate on repealing health care reform at 2 p.m.