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Sun., Oct. 4
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Calling health care law 'blueprint,' Owens votes against repeal


Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, voted against repealing President Obama's 2010 health-care law today, suggesting that the vote was politically motivated and would harm health care coverage.
"The 'repeal and replace' mantra rings hollow after 31 votes without a single proposal to achieve the goals of lowering costs and improving health care outcomes," Mr. Owens said in a news release.
The repeal passed the House, but is going nowhere in the Senate.
“We have a blueprint in the Affordable Care Act that expands community health centers, focuses on preventative care, closes the 'donut hole' for seniors, strengthens Medicare, and ensures that recent college grads looking for a job can remain on their parents' insurance plans," Mr. Owens said. "Democrats and Republicans must come together to implement the law, which includes making changes where appropriate to improve provisions that still need work.”
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled the law constitutional, a decision that will put health-care on the forefront of his race against Republican Matt Doheny.
Mr. Doheny supports repeal of the health-care overhaul, saying that it's an overly burdensome government intrusion.
Mr. Doheny chimes in.
“This law is a nightmare for working families,” he said in a news release. “Premiums continue to rise. People are losing the insurance they like. Jobs are being lost. That's why I'm committed to repealing this unworkable law and replacing it with a common-sense measures that will cut costs while putting the patient first.”
He also said that Mr. Obama's health-care overhaul cuts $500 billion from Medicare, which the Washington Post has said is not true. Politifact has also sought to debunk it, calling it "false."
Jude Seymour, Mr. Doheny's spokesman, sends a late-night email trying to debunk the debunkers. He says the fact-checkers are well-intentioned, but wrong. The bill does cut Medicare.
Ask any accountant, he says, and they'll agree (any accountants out there, please read this and email me) that Mr. Owens "cannot have it both ways" on Medicare not being cut and the bill also being deficit neutral.
I am not an accountant, so I will present his argument here and see what happens (my argument, that Politifact has "fact" right in the title so they must be right, did not prevail).
He says that if you take a balance sheet, and you have to account for $500 billion in new spending as a result of the health-care law, you have to make up for it somehow.
If you want to say that there weren't any cuts to Medicare, then the bill is not deficit neutral, Mr. Seymour argues, because it's added spending. If there are no cuts, the bill can't be revenue neutral.
Either that, or there were "cuts" to fund the new parts of Mr. Obama's health-care law.
It's somewhat of a semantic argument. The fact-checkers say that what happens to Medicare is "reductions in future spending," while Mr. Doheny's spokesman calls them "cuts."
An interesting argument, one that summons to mind the image of Schrodinger's cat. Either the spending cuts were there, and were cut, or there were not there, and there's new spending, the Seymour argument goes.

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