GOP v. McNerney on health care reform repeal

The National Republican Congressional Committee, keeping up its drumbeat of attacks upon what it sees as the Bay Area’s most vulnerable congressman, this morning again singled out Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, for his silence on House Republicans’ effort to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, the health-care reforms enacted last year.

“Democrats like Jerry McNerney have no excuse for remaining silent on a bill that begins the process to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with real healthcare reform that does not hinder job creation,” NRCC Communications Director Paul Lindsay said in a news release. “With unemployment alarmingly high and the Democrats’ job-crushing law remaining unpopular and controversial, McNerney’s silence is an insult to the middle-class families he represents. Americans have made it very clear where they stand on repealing the government takeover of healthcare, and it’s now time for Jerry McNerney to do the same.”

Well, McNerney just did so, in a speech on the House floor:

Jerry McNerney“Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the health care law and in opposition to its repeal. The health care reform, which was signed into law last year, is clearly not perfect and could be improved. However, the law as enacted will have significant benefits to millions of American citizens, to businesses, to local governments, and to the country as a whole.

“The benefits to individuals in need of health care with pre-existing conditions, to seniors, to young adults under 26 years of age and many other groups are well known and will be missed if the law is repealed. But most significantly, the law will drive down the cost of health care by encouraging and incentivizing quality care and good outcomes in health care treatments instead of encouraging potentially unnecessary procedures. It rewards quality rather than quantity of health care. This will ultimately reduce the cost, both public and private, of health care in this country.

“Because of these reasons, I strongly oppose repeal of health care reform.”

(Note: You might need to download and install Windows Media Player plugin/add-on to play inline Windows Media Player files.)

UPDATE @ 3:11 P.M.: The repeal bill, HR 2, has passed on a 245-189 vote, with three Democrats crossing the aisle to vote with the Republican majority: Dan Boren, D-Okla.; Mike McIntyre, D-N.C.; and Mike Ross, D-Ark.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • John W

    It’s a bit strange for the GOP to make it sound like McNerney hasn’t taken a stand on health care repeal, given that they spent the entire last campaign beating up on him over his vote for the health care law. In fact, McNerney has had to deal with buying insurance on his own and dealing with pre-exisiting conditions. So the subject is personal to him. Whether the GOP can use this against him next time depends on what happens in redistricting.

  • Tom Benigno

    Did Jerry in his heart of hearts really want to support the health care bill? Will it cost him his next bid for re-election?

  • Darlene Ryno

    In our children’s early years, my husband told them if they are old enough to get married, they are old to pay for their own college. It worked! Under the Affordable Care Act, if your plan covers children, you MAY now add or keep them on your health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old with the EXCEPTION until 2014, “grandfathered” group plans do not have to offer this coverage if a young adult is eligible for group coverage outside their parents’ plan. The law states most employers with 50 or more employees must provide health care. Not quality insurance, not even low cost options. It does not matter if these employees are paid minimum wage and pay a good portion of their pay check to pay for extremely low quality insurance. Therefore, a young adult can be married, not live with you, not financially dependent on you and be covered if they do not have a job, or are not offered a health plan in their job. So why are recent graduates who are working part-time for a company with 50 or more employees, struggling to find a job in this depressed economy, paying off student loans, living at home and dependent on their parents, and paying a fairly good portion of their meager income to pay for substandard health care, excluded from this provision until 2014? Why’s this group currently excluded? This same student can – travel the world on their parents dime, volunteer in their community for a couple years (like Adrienne Lowe from Alabama – http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2010/10/14/adrienne-lowe-alabama), get married and have children without even a part-time job, and still be on their parents health care plan. Sounds like a hand-out to the rich. Who is paying for these children who do not work at all and get married, go to grad school, have babies, and volunteer in the community? What happens to the recent grad that is still paying off student loans, struggling to find full time employment and now only receives minimal hospital and doctor coverage, which requires most of their paycheck to pay for? I really do not get this provision at all. Mostly, until 2014, this seems like a hand-out to families who can pay all their children’s expenses, the very ones that can also probably afford quality health care.

  • Even with redistricting, if the NRCC runs against Jerry McNerney in 2012 on a three-year-old vote on healthcare, especially in a state that likely will give Barack Obama a huge electoral victory, then they will never win back the seat. But if they want to do that, they should go right on ahead with that strategy.