Blog | Tuesday, December 7, 2010

QD: News Every Day--Repeal the whole but keep each part

Americans want to repeal health care reform but keep its individual provisions, reports a survey. The schizophrenic divide might be explained by a lack of understanding of the law's specifics, or the overarching fears that the law will cost more or result in less health care.

Among other findings:
--40% of adults wanting to repeal health care reform
--31% want to keep it, and
--29% are undecided.

When delving into the reasons why:
-- 81% believe it will raise taxes,
--77% believe that it will reduce the quality of care, and
--74% believe that it will ration health care.

But, respondent also like the individual provisions of health care reform. Nearly two-thirds of respondents like preventing insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, 60% want to keep tax credits for small businesses that provide health insurance to employees, and more than half want to allow children to remain on their parents insurance until they are 26.

The poll by market researchers Harris Interactive and news syndicate HealthDay surveyed 2,019 adults online just before Thanksgiving. The complete findings are online.

The conflicting views will give Republicans plenty of ammunition when they take over the U.S. House in January. Different tactics are being trotted out for how Republicans will approach health care reform, including holding the doc fix over legislator's heads, touting state's rights to defund health reform, and calling for outright insurrection.

One method being mulled is to fund the 'doc fix' by defunding health reform. It would cost $19 billion to fund Medicare reimbursement rates for one year, the time period being considered that would allow Congress time to create a permanent solution to how Medicare reimburses physicians. It also gives Republicans a dollar amount to offset from funds dedicated to health care reform, such as the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which sets aside $15 billion over 10 years for bike paths and farmers markets. One physician and clinic chief said, "Ideally, this is not a political party issue; it's a quality and fiscal issue,” and suggested that Medicare Part B is a likely target for budget offsets. [Note: Since this story was first published, Senate leaders have proposed a one-year doc fix and intend to introduce it to the rest of the Senate for consideration. While few details are available, costs would be offset by changing how much money health care subsidy recipients would have to re-pay if their eligibility changes in the middle of a tax year. Democrats may agree to this before control of the U.S. House converts to Republican leadership.]

Meanwhile, a Republican plans to introduce legislation that would allow state officials to challenge proposed federal regulations during their open comment periods. Sen. Roger Wicker said the bill is a reaction to health care reform. States could file constitutional legal challenges requiring the responsible federal agency to certify that a regulation doesn't violate the 10th Amendment (powers not granted to the federal government are retained by the states) and then post that certification on that agency's website.

But for U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann, only complete repeal is acceptable. The incoming House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, agrees, although the incoming Speaker of the House, John Boehner, didn't commit to the issue. (HealthDay, Politico, Modern Healthcare, The Hill, Cybercast News Service)