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The Suburbanite
  • GOP talks health care at opening of Romney's Stark HQ

  • Republican officials at the opening Saturday of Mitt Romney’s campaign office talked about the effects of the Supreme Court’s upholding of the Affordable Care Act

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  • Republicans held the grand opening of the Mitt Romney and Ohio GOP campaign office in Stark County on Saturday, where local Republican candidates expressed optimism that the Supreme Court’s upholding the prior week of the Affordable Care Act will spark Stark County voters to elect Republicans to repeal the law.
    State Rep. Christina Hagan, R-Marlboro Township, who attended the opening at Avondale Plaza at 3976B Fulton Road NW near Whipple Avenue NW, said in a sense, she was disappointed in the ruling.
    “This is certainly going to cost the state of Ohio and the taxpayers of Ohio more than I think people are imagining or understand,” she said. “But I’m happy that this happened because sometimes it takes a catalyst for change to occur and this might be the wake-up call to Americans that we’re losing touch with our freedoms and our ability to make decisions and allowing government to get too involved.”
    ECONOMICALLY FLAWED?
    U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Lakeville, said the health care ruling does not distract from Romney’s message about the economy and jobs but dovetails with it.
    The Affordable Care Act is “economically flawed. It doesn’t work. It raises cost. It’s making it very difficult for businesses to grow their businesses, hire people. A lot of uncertainty,” said Gibbs, who believes that businesses are so uncertain how the law affects their operations they’re holding back on hiring.
    He said the act will encourage businesses to drop coverage because the penalty of not offering it is less than the cost of coverage. Gibbs argues as a result, employees will lose group coverage and end up paying higher premiums.
    Gibbs said that true health care reform has to focus on driving down the cost to improve access to coverage rather than through the act’s federal subsidies, which are funded by taxes on high-income earners, tanning salons and medical device companies. He said states should form group risk pools with private insurers to provide coverage to the uninsured.
    U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, said small companies are less likely to hire because many will want to keep their payrolls under 50 employees to avoid requirements under the act that they provide coverage or pay a penalty.
    He believes tort reform to prevent frivolous malpractice suits against doctors, allowing health insurance plans to be purchased across state lines and educating patients on the true cost of their treatment to give them incentive to shop around for better values on health care will reduce costs. He said the act should be repealed and then new health care reform that keeps good parts of the Affordable Care Act should be passed “piece by piece.”
    He said many doctors, who are concerned they’ll be inadequately compensated under the act and subject to excessive mandates, will stop practicing, resulting in a doctor shortage that could reduce access to health care.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I had a constituent come up to me the other day and say if 85 percent of us are already covered and the 15 percent aren’t, leave the 85 percent alone and talk about the 15 percent,” said Renacci. “What the Affordable Care Act does, it’s taking away the options for the 85 percent that are already covered.”
    CHOICES
    Hagan said the health care law will be burdensome for her father’s Hagan Heating & Plumbing business because the company doesn’t provide coverage for its employees, who are her mother, her two brothers, her fiancé and an office employee. Because the company has fewer than 50 employees, the business would be exempt from requirements it buy health insurance for its employees or pay a penalty.
    However, under the law, the employees, who could be eligible for subsidized coverage, would have to pay tax penalties if they do not have health insurance starting in 2014. Her fiancé, who is 24, now gets coverage through his mother's plan. Hagan said her brothers, though they could afford it,
    have opted not to get coverage because they’d rather spend money on other things, such as a house.
    While she has urged one of her brothers to get coverage for him and his children, “that’s his personal choice, This is America.”