Republicans are beginning the 112th Congress on Wednesday with an agenda to repeal health care reform.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as health care reform or the Patient's Bill of Rights, was signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010. Health care reform is under fire from Republicans, including newly elected Tea Party extremists, who want to repeal it.
Republicans want to reintroduce lifetime limits to insurance coverage. They want to allow insurance companies to deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. They want to repeal preventative care, and they want to allow insurance companies to terminate coverage for medical reasons. And the list goes on.
Because of their wins in the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans have a majority in the House but not the Senate. It is unlikely that any effort to undo health care reform will be successful in Congress, because Republicans do not have a majority in both houses of Congress. Even if Republicans were successful in repealing health care reform, President Obama would surely veto it.
What this amounts to is political theater on the part of the newly elected Republican majority in the House. This political grandstanding is coming at a time when many Americans would like Congressional efforts to be focused on job creation.
Republican members of the House, led by the incoming House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), are scheduling a vote to repeal health care reform as early as next week. Senate Democrats have already said in a letter that they will block efforts toward repeal.
The Los Angeles Times reported on Monday that the rate of avoidable and costly hospitalizations has dropped in California. However, some minority groups, including African Americans in South Los Angeles, have higher rates of avoidable hospitalizations than patients statewide. This is largely due to access to care, including lack of medical insurance.