Democratic officials who spoke at a campaign event Tuesday for President Barack Obama said that the health care debate has been decided, it’s time to move on but Obama has to be re-elected to prevent Republicans candidate Mitt Romney from trying to repeal the law.
At a packed opening event Tuesday night for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign office in Canton, Mayor William J. Healy II closed his 15-minute speech with some remarks on the Affordable Care Act.
“What is the single most common talking point of this election cycle?” he asked, after blasting Republican policies and talking about how the president’s stimulus package helped get Canton through the recession.
“I’d like to think it’s jobs, but it’s universal health care,” Healy, a Democrat, told about 160 to 225 Obama supporters, some waving signs in the 131 Cleveland Avenue SW office. “We’re having a debate about whether or not we should be providing access to health care for Americans? Seriously? ... And they’re trying to tell us that’s not acceptable?”
Two years after Congress passed the Affordable Care Act and more than two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of it, some Democratic officials believe the passage of the law is a done deal and it’s time to focus more on other issues like the economy, amid the Republicans’ calls for repeal.
Later, Healy said he doesn’t see how the health care issue helps Republicans.
“It’s passed by Congress. It’s supported by the Supreme Court, and it’s providing health care to Americans. I think it’s a losing battle for Republicans.”
After needling Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for outsourcing his tax revenue to Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, former Democratic congressman John Boccieri talked about 2010 when he provided one of the key votes to pass the health care law. He recalled when one of his constituents, Natoma Canfield of Medina, who had dropped her health insurance because she couldn’t afford it, later got cancer. The letter about her situation she sent to the president helped inspire supporters to push the law through.
“Whether I serve two terms or 20, this is the right thing to do,” Boccieri recalled about his thoughts on his vote. “And that’s why we have health care for 30 million people in this country! And that’s why we are not going to let Mitt Romney (repeal the law). He said on Day 1 that he was going to deny health care for 30 million Americans.”
Alliance Councilwoman Sue Ryan, D-At Large, who’s running for state representative for the 50th District, predicts the health care issue will energize the base of both parties in this election.
“Why do (Republicans) not want people to have health care?” she asked. “I know people who are very close to me, people close to me who have medical conditions. ... they (do) not have the freedom of leaving their job to find another job. ... we can subsidize oil companies but we can’t subsidize someone to buy insurance, so they can have their health care taken care of? It doesn’t make sense to me why people are so opposed to it.”
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On Republicans’ arguments that the law creates uncertainty for businesses and will result in doctor shortages, Healy said, “they’re passing fear along.”
He added that the law has not hurt city workers’ health coverage and that hospitals already have doctors serving the uninsured in emergency rooms.
“I don’t know what people are getting all riled up about,” Healy said. “We’re providing opportunities for Americans to have health care, and I’ll challenge anybody out there to say why that’s not a good thing. ... what really matters is the jobs, the economy ... we spend more time listening and talking about health care than we have about the real issues that are going to be important in the future.”
“The Republicans want to make this election about 30 million people who now (actually in 2014 will) have access to health care insurance,” Boccieri said. “They don’t want to talk about how Mitt Romney is going to create jobs because they know his record is very thin.”