A major effort is underway today to urge Congressman Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) to buck his GOP colleagues and vote against repealing the health-care reform law.
A national group, Catholics United, is placing about 6,000 telephone calls to Catholics who live in Ohio's 1st Congressional District, that contains a recorded message asking them to have Chabot vote “no” on repealing health-care reform. The GOP leadership is expected to bring up the repeal bill, H.R. 2, on Wednesday for a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives.
After listening to the message, which tells voters of the health-care reform law’s important protections for children and the elderly, listeners can then choose to be connected directly to Chabot’s office.
Founded in 2004, Catholics United is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group designed to encourage a public dialogue about faith and politics that goes “beyond the tired rhetoric of partisan interests by allowing Catholics to learn how their political views matched up to those of the U.S. Catholic bishops,” the group states. It promotes the message of “justice and the common good found at the heart of the Catholic social tradition” through online advocacy and educational activities.
“Many Catholics, including the Catholic community’s foremost experts on healthcare, the Catholic Health Association, supported healthcare reform,” said the Rev. Richard Bollman, of the Bellarmine Chapel at Xavier University.
“As a Catholic, I’m supportive of the law’s provisions for children and seniors, and I am opposed to any effort to repeal these life-saving measures,” Bollman added.
It's not the only group trying to persuade Chabot.
The Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Over-the-Rhine will hold a rally at downtown's Fountain Square at noon Wednesday. People directly affected by the new law will share their tales of how they've been helped since some of the law's provisions have taken effect.
Afterward, people attending the rally will march to Chabot's district office, located at 441 Vine St., Suite 3003, to share their concerns with the congressman's staff.
Also, a delegation from the various groups that comprise the Ohio Coalition of Health Care For America Now (HCAN) will deliver petitions supporting the health-care reform law to Chabot's district office at about the same time.
HCAN is a national grassroots coalition of more than 1,000 organizations in 46 states that represents about 30 million people.
If the repeal is approved, it would eliminate provisions of the new law that already are benefiting consumers in the 1st Congressional District, HCAN leaders said.
Among those in Chabot's district that would be affected are 93,000 elderly residents who receive no-cost preventive care through Medicare, about 49,000 young adults who would lose their insurance coverage through their parents’ health plans just after they finish school and are looking for jobs, and the nearly 10,300 people who have pre-existing conditions and now get protection from denial of coverage.
“I’m very disappointed that with the many struggles Ohioans are facing with jobs, the economy, foreclosures, and credit-card debt, that our new congressman would choose to support an effort that leaves us even worse off,” said Brian Rothenberg of ProgressOhio, in a prepared statement.
“Repealing this law doesn’t benefit anyone except the insurance companies that will be let off the hook so that they can go back to mistreating consumers and making even bigger profits.”
Tomorrow's vote is widely viewed as symbolic. Although the repeal bill is likely to pass the House, there doesn't appear to be enough votes for approval in the Senate. Even if there are, both sides concede there's not enough support to override a presidential veto, which surely would occur.
An Associated Press poll released over the weekend found that support for repeal is falling.
Only one in four Americans said they support full repeal of the reforms, and just 30 percent “strongly oppose” the law. Overall, 40 percent of those surveyed said they support the law, while 41 percent oppose it.
Repealing the law would add $230 billion to the deficit during the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.