Today (Friday) is the second anniversary of what Democrats call The Affordable Care Act, while Republicans refer to it as ObamaCare. Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack is part of President Obama’s cabinet now and he held a conference call with reporters this week to tout the national health care reform law. “One thing that people don’t realize about this is that it actually will reduce the federal budget,” Vilsack said. “The Congressional Budget Office has determined that this act will reduce the federal deficit by over $100 billion over the course of the next decade.” According to Vilsack, people also overlook the tax breaks that were included in the legislation. “Particularly for small businesses, a 35 percent tax credit is a fairly significant tax create that makes it a little bit easier to afford the cost of health care coverage for a company that has, maybe, a half-dozen employees or so,” Vilsack said.
Vilsack, who is serving as U.S. Ag Secretary, invited a registered nurse at a hospital in Spencer, Iowa, to join his conference call to laud the provision that bars insurance companies from denying coverage due to preexisting conditions. “Many times that was the reason they chose not to have insurance later because they knew that for the very reason they needed insurance was the reason they now could not get that insurance,” she said. Carolyn Sheridan is also clinical director for AgriSafe, a network of health professionals who work in rural America.
From the other side of this debate, Republican Congressman Steve King spoke at a Washington, D.C. news conference this week to mark the law’s two-year anniversary. “Tens of thousands of Americans came here to this city to say to their legislators, ‘Keep your hands off of our health care and our constitution,’” King said. For the past two years King has argued for complete repeal of the law. “If we turned to the American people and said, ‘Come tear these pages out,’ they would tear every page out of there,” King said during the news conference, “and there’d be people standing in line to do that.” King has called the law an “assault on the personal liberty” of Americans that “nationalizes our skin and everything inside” our bodies. “Piece after piece, we know how bad this is,” King said. “I don’t have to do down through the list. It’s unaffordable, unsustainable, unconstitutional. The Supreme Court will get a look at this later this month and I hope to be there to hear that argument.”
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will start three days of hearings featuring lawyers arguing both sides of the health care reform dispute. President Obama signed the health care reform bill into law on March 23, 2010.
(O. Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)