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Utah Dems: Repeal of health care reform would be a step backwards

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 18 2011 7:30 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — Supporters of President Barack Obama’s controversial health care reform say repealing the law would take Utahns and Americans back to a time when many couldn’t get health care coverage.

The Republican-controlled House is scheduled to vote Wednesday on repealing the Affordable Care Act. While it’s expected to pass the House, a repeal is not expected to clear the Democratic-controlled Senate.

On Tuesday, local members of Organizing for America, a grassroots project of the Democratic National Committee, gathered to show support for the Affordable Care Act and call for a more civil debate of the issue.

“We urge the congressmen in Utah that are on the GOP side to tone down the rhetoric and to deal with this issue in a civil debate," Utah State Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Holland said. "Let’s talk about the effect on American citizens and Utah citizens and go forward from this day.”

He said thanks to the law, 250,000 young Utahns are covered under their parents’ insurance until they are 26 years old.

“We urge Congressman Bishop and Congressman Chaffetz not to take us backwards once again to a time where they wouldn’t be covered,” Holland said.

Repeal of the act could also make it harder for employers to provide affordable health insurance to employees because they would no longer get tax credit worth up to 35 percent of the cost of providing health insurance.

"It seems short-sided and even foolish to push for repeal,” said small business owner Mary Bishop. “Is the law perfect? No. But I would urge all of our representatives, Bishop, Chaffetz to join Congressmen Matheson to vote no and work on fixing and improving what has taken us a hundred years to enact."

Also under the law, insurers are no longer allowed to discriminate against children with pre-existing conditions.

In Utah, insurance companies could deny coverage to upwards of a million people with pre-existing conditions. That's according to a report released by House Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee. The report broke down the impact a repeal would have on each congressional district. Nearly 13,000 young adults would lose new health care coverage options. And 60,000 small businesses would lose health care tax credits.

E-mail: vvo-duc@ksl.com

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