By Bill Sorem
St. Louis Park, MN, January 14, 2011
Minnesota Senator Al Franken is confident Republicans are not going to repeal the health care reform law. Not only do they not have the votes, but people are growing to like the law.
Franken made the comments after he toured the International Diabetes Center at Park Nicollet Clinic and received the American Diabetes Association’s 2010 Distinguished Leadership in Diabetes Policy Award.
Franken went on to discuss some of the ramifications of the act, some of which are already implemented.
Transcription of Senator Franken on GOP attempt to repeal health care reform.
Bill Sorem with The UpTake. What’s going to happen on the attempt to repeal the health care act?
Doctor: Is that to me? (laughter)
Al Franken: Doctor…
Doctor: It doesn’t stand a chance.
Franken: I guess you heard it from the doctor. (laughter)
No it will not be repealed. Obviously there will be a vote in the House which has changed leadership and the bill may there but it won’t be passed in the Senate.
What’s interesting is there are parts of this bill that people are already seeing works.
When the Republicans during the campaign put out their, what was it called, pledge to America, they said they were going to repeal the bill. But they were also going to keep certain things that were in the bill including not penalizing people for having a pre-existing condition or discriminating against them, allow kids to stay on their parents plan until they’re 26, eliminating the lifetime limit that’s on for the health insurance company can impose, I believe closing the donut hole.
And you can’t do both. You can’t repeal that and, if you, if you don’t discriminate against people who have pre-existing conditions, don’t prevent them from getting policies that they’ll charge them more, then it creates a disincentive to get health insurance until you’re sick. And then health insurance costs would go into a death spiral. And that’s why you, why you really … it really doesn’t make sense to do what they were suggesting.
And I welcome any ideas …we’re going to be implementing this bill over a long, long time and so in the implementation you’ll learn a lot. We’re learning good things. Already the Keiser Foundation did a study that says that small businesses because of the small business tax credit in this for companies of 25 or less, that they’re insuring their employees at a much higher rate already. It’s gone from like 46 to 59 percent. And that is something worked probably than we imagined it would. And there will probably be other parts of the bill that won’t work as well as we had hoped. And I’m very glad, I’m very happy about this part, and I’m very happy that United Health jumped in and said ‘we’re going to pilot this program all over the place.’ I had a meeting with United Health because I see part of my job as… the health care reform is not a destination, it’s a journey and we’re going to keep doing it. So, I had a meeting a few months ago with the deputy health HHS secretary with United Health and the ADA and the CEC and it’s so encouraging ‘cause United Health saw how beneficial this would be to its… the people they’re covering and to them… and to United Health in saving them money.
So there is so much in this bill that’s in the area of cost containment that a lot of people don’t really know about. And that would be repealed as well, if you repealed the bill. So not only do I not see this being repealed, but I see a lot of work ahead in the implementation, the continued implementation of the bill.