Michael Grimm has only been in Congress for a few days, but he is already taking major fire from Democrats for voting to repeal the new health care law while still accepting the government-sponsored health care that comes with his new perch.
Making matters worse, Grimm told The Daily News (the piece hasn’t appeared online yet) “What am I, not supposed to have health care? It’s practicality. I’m not going to become a burden for the state because I don’t have health care and, God forbid I get into an accident and I can’t afford the operation…That can happen to anyone.”
Eh-oh. Asked to respond, Michael Czin, the regional representative for the Democratic National Committee said, “That was fast. After just a few short days in office, Congressman Grimm has quickly become a creature of Washington. After railing against health care reform as a ‘government takeover,’ Grimm is defending his right to have the same type of health care he wants to deny his constituents.”
Czin added that Democrats are keeping in their sights early on new congressman like Grimm who hail from swing districts. Grimm ousted Democrat Mike McMahon in November:
Members like Grimm who won competitive races will be monitored to see if as their first order of business they will focus on a typical partisan political game or if he will keep his word and instead focus on working together on constructive ways to continue our recovery. We will ensure that his constituents know what choices he makes in DC. This won’t just be about health care reform – this will be about holding Republicans like Grimm accountable for looking out for the special interests and appeasing their extreme right wing Republican base on a host of issue – from health care to Wall Street reform and economic recovery. Millions of American people are benefiting from health reform, the consumer protections included in Wall Street reform, and from economic policies that created nearly 1 million private sector jobs in 2010 – if Republicans like Grimm want to risk the progress we’ve made and the economic recovery to please his base and the special interest lobbyist friend – we are going to make sure his constituents know about it.
Democrats are trying to turn Republican’s efforts to repeal health care into an advantage. Organizing for America, the offshoot of Obama’s 2008 grassroots organizing effort, sent out the following missive today:
House Republicans are moving forward to repeal all provisions of health reform, with a final vote scheduled for next week.
If they get their way, insurance companies will once again have the right to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, drop or limit coverage if you become sick, and charge women higher premiums than men. Seniors will lose critical prescription drug savings and free preventive care under Medicare.
It’s sad but not surprising.
The motivations here have little to do with good policy. Repeal is just the first agenda item of a new Republican majority that is much more interested in appeasing their right-wing base and looking out for special interests than working together to create jobs and grow the economy.
Behind the scenes, insurance-industry lobbyists are working overtime with Republicans to take us back to the days when their clients were able to do whatever they wanted.
But this movement is different. We don’t take our cues from special interests or lobbyists, and we never will. We don’t take their money either, relying solely on support from folks like you — and it only makes us stronger.
Right now, Organizing for America is putting together a team of dedicated organizers and volunteers to defend our progress, stop repeal, and expose the Republican plan for what it really is.
Please donate $3 or more to help protect our progress — and stop the repeal of health insurance reform.
We fought to pass the Affordable Care Act because it was the right thing to do.
Its provisions are fair, reduce the deficit by more than $230 billion over the next 10 years, cut costs, and protect all Americans from the worst insurance industry abuses. The law is already making a difference in people’s lives.
Among other provisions, the Affordable Care Act:
— Prevents insurers from raising premiums by double digits with no recourse or accountability; — Requires insurers to spend 80 to 85 percent of premium dollars on health care, not CEO bonuses — and if they don’t, they have to provide you a rebate; — Frees families from the fear of losing their insurance, or having it capped unexpectedly, after an injury or illness; and — Prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against pregnant women or denying coverage to children born with disabilities.
The Republican alternative at this point consists of a two-page addendum to the two-page repeal bill. It’s a plan to make a plan to have a plan.
Even without a coherent proposal, they won’t have trouble raising money to drum up support for repeal. Republicans’ close relationship with entrenched interests has benefited them in campaigns that did not begin — and will not end — with health reform.
But we’re fighting back with everything we’ve got — building a large-scale, grassroots effort to stop this repeal and protect our progress. Your support will fund the organizing that generates calls to Congress, neighborhood canvasses, and letters in our local papers.
Together, we’ll make sure our message is heard and understood: We stand by health reform and will not tolerate attempts to put insurance companies back in charge.
Donate $3 or more to fight repeal and protect our progress:
Yohannes AbrahamPolitical DirectorOrganizing for America