Donovan defends move to repeal Obamacare
U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan, who sided with his fellow Republicans in the House majority in voting to repeal major components of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Jan. 6, said he voted the way he did because the landmark law is burdening American families with high health insurance premiums and stifling economic growth.
“Obamacare just isn’t working,” Donovan (R-C-Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island) said, calling the ACA by its more commonly used name.
“Middle class families in Staten Island and South Brooklyn are already burdened with some of the highest costs of living in the country. To continue this charade while family health premiums reach $20,000 per year and more is ridiculous,” he said.
But Donovan, the lone Republican in the House’s New York City delegation, is coming under sharp criticism from Democrats in the Bay Ridge end of his congressional district, who are angry over his vote.
Democrats contended that Obamacare has enabled millions of people across the country who previously could not afford health insurance to buy insurance.
Justin Brannan, a spokesman for the Bay Ridge Democrats political club, said Donovan should not have voted to repeal a law that is working. "There are 17 million people, men, women and children, Democrats and Republicans, who now have health insurance thanks to Obamacare — over 2 million of them are New Yorkers. Threatening to take away someone's health care is just cruel," he told the Brooklyn Eagle via email on Jan. 8.
House Republicans have no intention of leaving Americans high and dry, Donovan said. The GOP will be proposing options to replace the bill this year, he said.
Specifically, the bill seeks to end the employer mandate and repeal penalties for non-compliance.
The House vote to repeal the ACA was significant, according to Donovan, because it is the first such measure to reach the president’s desk. Congress considered the bill under special “reconciliation” procedure, which allowed the Senate to avoid a filibuster.
President Obama is expected to veto the bill.
“It’s death by a thousand cuts. Property taxes, rent and water rates seem to increase every year. The sales tax creeps up. Income taxes for the city, the state and the federal governments chip away at hard-earned income. Now, after years of promises of affordable health care, middle class workers are paying money they don’t have for health insurance policies they can’t keep. Enough is enough,” Donovan said.
In November, the McKinsey Center for U.S. Health Reform released a study estimating that premiums would increase by up to 49 percent for middle-of-the-road “silver” health plans in 2016, Donovan said.
In December, Donovan toured Frank J. Silvestri Insurance, a family-owned business on 13th Avenue in Dyker Heights. The Silvestris, who employ a handful of local residents, told Donovan that the ACA is forcing them to choose between investing in their business and employees or paying their $25,000 per year health insurance premium.