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Opinion: Congress passes historic health reform, GOP responds with rank partisanship



By Phoebe Sweet

LAS VEGAS–Late last night, the House passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and Pres. Barack Obama is expected to sign it on Tuesday. But while Sen. Harry Reid and Democrats in Congress have led the fight on health reform, key Nevada Republicans immediately signaled their intent to fight on behalf of big insurance companies to repeal these historic reforms.

Despite the substantial benefits to Nevadans from the health care bill, Republican Senate candidates Danny Tarkanian, Sue Lowden and Sharon Angle and Congressional hopeful Joe Heck have all advocated repeal of the bill and continue to use distortions pulled straight from national GOP talking points. In addition to their statements, Tarkanian, Lowden and Angle have all signed a petition from the ultra-conservative Club for Growth vowing to overturn the bill and jeopardize the health care of hundreds of thousands of Nevadans.

Lowden, Tarkanian, Angle and Heck have pledged to eliminate crucial reforms that may mean the difference between life and death for many Nevadans, and reinstate the ability of insurance companies to commit the worst abuses against our citizens. The Republican repeal policy would:

· Raise prescription drug prices for more than 120,000 Nevada seniors and reopen the Medicare doughnut hole.

· Eliminate tax credits for small businesses to help make coverage more affordable to their employees.

· Allow the insurance company practice of denying children coverage based on preexisting conditions–a life or death issue for many sick children.

· Allow insurance companies to once again deny coverage to almost 21,000 Nevadans with preexisting conditions, a practice that prevents even some working Nevadans from purchasing coverage.

· Allow insurance companies to deny customers coverage when they get sick, and would again allow lifetime caps easily reached with one bad car accident and restrictive annual limits that effectively deny customers coverage.

· Take away doctor choice, repealing a provision that allows plan members to pick any participating primary care provider, prohibits insurers from requiring prior authorization before a woman sees an ob-gyn and ensures access to emergency care.

· Kick young adults who have just graduated from college but can’t find jobs off their parents’ health plans.

· Bring back deductibles for preventive care for patients on private and public insurance plans alike, including Medicare, and take away guaranteed, free, annual wellness visit for Medicare recipients

“Lowden, Tarkanian, Angle and Heck continue to demagogue the specifics while advocating total overturn of these crucial health insurance reforms,” said Phoebe Sweet, communications director with the Nevada State Democratic Party. “The truth is, these Republicans stand in lockstep with the ‘Party of No’ in DC, and they’re even willing to snatch away Nevadans’ benefits that will allow greater access to health care, lower prices and stronger consumer protections for all of us.”

“With their advocacy, Republicans are willing to snatch benefits from 120,000 Nevada seniors and charge almost 60,000 Medicare recipients more for prescription drugs. They’re willing to deny medical care to children born with illnesses. They even want to eliminate tax credits for small businesses struggling to do the right thing by providing their employees health insurance–all in pursuit of their purely partisan agenda.”

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