The U.S. Congress continues to earn its reputation for spending a lot of time accomplishing little. This week the House of Representatives will vote yet again to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) otherwise known as Obamacare.
This will be the 37th time Congress has held a vote to repeal the law. No matter that the Senate will not take up the measure, or that President Obama has committed to vetoing any bill that would undermine the health reform law which will be fully implemented next year. Congress has completely disregarded signals in recent months by several governors who have been vocal opponents of the ACA, but decided to set aside politics and accept a key element of the law that will expand coverage to all low-income people regardless of where they work.
Stale political grandstanding aside, Obamacare remains the law of the land and will be fully implemented in 2014. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia are working on starting their own health care exchanges, where consumers will be able to purchase health insurance. Think Orbitz for health insurance. For those states that have refused to set up these new insurance marketplaces, the Federal government is doing it for them.
While this vote will do as much to repeal Obamacare as the previous 36 have, let’s take a look at what our representatives are really saying with their vote. A repeal wouldn’t just strip away soon to come benefits for consumers, many important consumer protections such as extending care to young adults under the age of 26 and ending lifetime and annual benefits limits have already been implemented and are already helping consumers. Consumers Union’s Health Reform Campaign recently sent a letter to the House of Representatives asking it to stop wasting time with distractions and move on to serious issues of public concern. Who knows, maybe the 37th time is the charm!