Grimm Joins GOP Effort To Repeal National Health Care Law

Rep. Michael Grimm (image by Dan Macleod for CNG)
Rep. Michael Grimm (image by Dan Macleod for CNG)

Representative Michael Grimm joined his Republican colleagues on Capital Hill in another effort to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. SI Live is reporting that Grimm voted on legislation that would prohibit the IRS from enforcing the controversial law.

The bill, known as the “Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act,” is not expected to pass in the Democratically controlled Senate. While this latest GOP effort targets the IRS, the bill essentially amounts to the 40th time that the GOP has attempted to trash Obamacare since its passing in 2010.

“The IRS has proved to be a scandal-ridden organization that has abused its authority by targeting individuals and organizations. How can we expect the American people to trust it with something as important as health care? Health care decisions should be made by patients and doctors, not by Washington bureaucrats at the IRS,” Grimm said.

Grimm’s outspoken opposition to Obamacare represents the GOP’s broader last ditch effort to derail or bury the Affordable Health Care Act before it goes into effect in 2014.

Recently, the New York Times published a front page report detailing that the average New Yorker’s health care plan costs would be dramatically slashed once Obamacare is implemented:

State insurance regulators say they have approved rates for 2014 that are at least 50 percent lower on average than those currently available in New York. Beginning in October, individuals in New York City who now pay $1,000 a month or more for coverage will be able to shop for health insurance for as little as $308 monthly. With federal subsidies, the cost will be even lower…
The plans to be offered on the exchanges all meet certain basic requirements, as laid out in the law, but are in four categories from most generous to least: platinum, gold, silver and bronze. An individual with annual income of $17,000 will pay about $55 a month for a silver plan, state regulators said. A person with a $20,000 income will pay about $85 a month for a silver plan, while someone earning $25,000 will pay about $145 a month for a silver plan.

In response to this news, New York Times op-ed contributor Paul Krugman argued in a recent piece that Obamacare represents the “right’s worst nightmare,” because once implemented, the measure would become wildly popular:

To understand what’s happening in New York, you have to start with what almost everyone at least pretends to believe: Americans shouldn’t find it impossible to get health insurance because of pre-existing conditions that aren’t their fault. Two decades ago, New York tried to deal with this by imposing community rating: insurance is available to everyone, and the price doesn’t depend on your medical history.
The problem was that this created a death spiral: young, healthy people didn’t buy insurance, worsening the risk pool, driving up premiums, driving out more relatively healthy people, etc., until you were left with a rump of very ill people paying very high rates.
How do you deal with this? Well, ideally, Medicare for all. But since that wasn’t going to happen, you improve the risk pool by requiring everyone to buy insurance — the individual mandate. And since some people won’t be able to afford that, you also offer subsidies. Voila! ObamaRomneycare!
Where does the money for the subsidies come from? Partly by reducing corporate welfare: reducing overpayments for Medicare Advantage, reducing tax breaks for very generous insurance plans; partly with new taxes on the wealthy.
And while a few people will be hurt — young, healthy individuals too affluent to qualify for subsidies, wealthy taxpayers, etc. — a much larger number of people will be helped, some of them enormously.

As the day Obamacare is implemented draws nearer, it will be interesting to see how average people react to the reality of the system. If the Affordable Health Care Act ends up insuring millions while saving people money right away, conservatives like Grimm, representing traditionally Democratic areas, might find themselves desperately trying to defend their vehement opposition to the measure for years to come.