GOP Rallying Cry: Repeal Obamacare

Thursday, 01 Apr 2010 10:01 AM

By Ronald Kessler

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President Obama has handed Republicans a winning slogan for the November elections: Repeal healthcare legislation.

As it is, two-thirds of Americans oppose the law. As they learn more about it, that opposition will intensify.

Aside from gimmicks that make it appear it reduces the deficit, the bill has a fatal flaw: It will severely reduce the quality and availability of healthcare for all Americans.

The legislation cuts Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement to doctors and hospitals, which may lead them to refuse to take patients covered by the plans or to close down entirely. At the same time, the law expands coverage to 32 million Americans when the country already has a shortage of doctors.

According to a survey in the latest issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, nearly one-third of all practicing physicians may leave the medical profession now that Obama has signed the healthcare bill into law.

Kevin Perpetua, managing partner for the Medicus Firm, a physician search and consulting firm that conducted the survey, says the bill could be “the final straw” in an industry already hit by financial threats. They include annual malpractice insurance premiums of more than $100,000 per doctor and debts averaging $140,000 after graduation from medical school.

“Many physicians feel that they cannot continue to practice if patient loads increase while pay decreases,” Perpetua says.

Republican leaders of the House and Senate have already seized on repeal of the healthcare legislation as an issue. They have signed “Repeal It” pledges and are sponsoring measures to repeal the legislation.

Mitt Romney has announced a “Prescription for Repeal” program that supports conservative candidates who will repeal the worst aspects of the bill. Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC website lists congressional candidates who are already receiving financial support based on their pledge to fight the healthcare law.

Obama’s effort to increase coverage while undercutting incentives for doctors to continue practicing medicine is consistent with his lack of understanding of the profit motive and his cart-before-the-horse approach.

That approach goes back to his first days in office, when he announced that he would close the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, even though he had no idea where the prisoners would go.

More recently, Obama let Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. designate Manhattan as the location of a civilian trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed without checking with law enforcement officials to see what impact such a trial would have on the city’s security.

The repeal issue will give Republicans a powerful boost to taking back control of the House and Senate in November. When they do, “Repeal It” will be more than a slogan.

It will be reality.

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via e-mail. Go here now. 

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