Skip to main content

GOP's 'playbook' to deny Americans health care

By Steve Israel
updated 5:08 PM EST, Fri November 22, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Steve Israel: With "playbook" aimed at killing Obamacare, GOP offers politics, not ideas
  • He says GOP offers sabotage; Democrats will fix Obamacare, get health care to Americans
  • He says report shows Obamacare already working; health care spending way down
  • Israel: Count on GOP to root for failure on range of issues; Dems to seek solutions for Americans

Editor's note: Steve Israel is a Democratic representative from New York and chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

(CNN) -- New Yorkers have two ways of looking at a problem. You can ask, "What went wrong, and who do we blame?" or you can roll up your sleeves and ask, "What went wrong, and how do we fix it?"

If anyone in America had any question about which question congressional Republicans would ask, we now have an answer: House Republicans engineered a 17-page playbook detailing how to sabotage and repeal the Affordable Care Act so they can score political points. In this lengthy manual, however, Republicans didn't offer a single idea for solutions, for helping constituents enroll in health care or understand their benefits. Rather, the entire handbook is a tactical guide to tearing down the law.

Republicans have no playbook to create jobs, they have no playbook to build infrastructure, they have no playbook to pass immigration reform, they have no playbook to pass a budget -- and they have no playbook to propose a better health care system.

Steve Israel
Steve Israel

Their only playbook is to take us back to a system that didn't work, that led hardworking people into bankruptcy and gave insurance companies unchecked power to deny care and drop coverage. Democrats, on the other hand, are going to relentlessly remind Americans that one party is willing to fix the Affordable Care Act and that one party -- the Republican Party -- wants to repeal the law and put insurance companies back in charge.

Because when Americans see Republicans in Congress sharing an anecdote or holding a hearing, they can know it is designed to do one thing: Take the country back to the dark days when our health care system didn't work.

As a Democrat who represents countless families who need the reforms from the Affordable Care Act, there's no question in my mind that the problems that have emerged as the health care exchanges have rolled out need to be fixed, and soon, so that the act works for the American people. One thing is clear: We can't go back to a broken system that doesn't cover a woman because she had breast cancer or one in which a 24-year-old is kicked off his parents' insurance.

Rep. Yoho: GOP playbook needs solutions
Priebus: We're obsessed with Obamacare

When Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans feign concern over the problems with the law or the glitches with implementation, they have no credibility.

The law is already measurably helping Americans and the American economy. A report this week from the Council on Economic Advisers said that health care inflation is at the lowest rate in a generation and that health care spending has risen by the lowest rate of growth ever recorded, improvements brought about, in part, by the law. And this is to say nothing of the vital consumer protections the law has brought about.

When the dust clears, the American people will see one basic principle: Democrats are striving to improve the law, and Republicans are striving to sabotage it, rooting for failure and refusing to offer any ideas of their own about how to improve the system.

The debate over health care is a microcosm of the broader debate between Democrats and Republicans about the big issues facing our country, whether it's ending the Medicare guarantee or making sure corporations pay their fair share. In the coming months, we'll see the divide between the parties on full display, as Republicans yet again hurtle the country toward more shutdown showdowns and fiscal brinksmanship this winter.

Make no mistake: As Republicans show that their priority is to protect special interests, destroy the Affordable Care Act and side with insurance companies, Democrats will stand on the side of hardworking families. House Democrats will continue to work to offer commonsense solutions to the American people so that health care works, middle-class families can get ahead and the dysfunction in Washington stops jeopardizing the prosperity of this great nation.

Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter.

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Steve Israel.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:45 AM EDT, Sun July 13, 2014
To prevent war with North Korea over a comedy, what would Dennis Rodman say to Kim Jong Un? Movie critic Gene Seymour weighs in.
updated 9:15 AM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
Michael Werz says in light of the spying cases, U.S. is seen as a paranoid society that can't tell friends from foes.
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
Eric Liu explains why in his new book, he calls himself "Chinese American" -- without a hyphen.
updated 11:12 AM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
John Bare says hands-on learning can make a difference in motivating students to acquire STEM skills.
updated 9:20 AM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
Karl Alexander and Linda Olson find blacks and whites live in urban poverty with similar backgrounds, but white privilege wins out as they grow older.
updated 12:20 PM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
Frida Ghitis says a poll of 14 Muslim-majority nations show people are increasingly opposed to extremism.
updated 2:28 PM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says spending more on immigation enforcement isn't going to stop the flow of people seeking refuge in the U.S.
updated 4:48 PM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
Faisal Gill had top security clearance and worked for the Department of Homeland Security. That's why it was a complete shock to learn the NSA had him under surveillance.
updated 2:41 PM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
Kevin Sabet says the scientific verdict is that marijuana can be dangerous, and Colorado should be a warning to states contemplating legalizing pot.
updated 4:47 PM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
World War I ushered in an era of chemical weapons use that inflicted agonizing injury and death. Its lethal legacy lingers into conflicts today, Paul Schulte says
updated 7:37 AM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
Tom Foley and Ben Zimmer say Detroit's recent bankruptcy draws attention to a festering problem in America -- cities big and small are failing to keep up with change.
updated 8:01 AM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
Mel Robbins says many people think there's "something suspicious" about Leanna Harris. But there are other interpretations of her behavior
updated 1:53 PM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
Amy Bass says Germany's rout of Brazil on its home turf was brutal, but in defeat the Brazilian fans' respect for the victors showed why soccer is called 'the beautiful game'
updated 5:07 PM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
Aaron Carroll explains how vaccines can prevent illnesses like measles, which are on the rise
updated 8:08 PM EDT, Tue July 8, 2014
Aaron Miller says if you think the ongoing escalation between Israel and Hamas over Gaza will force a moment of truth, better think again
updated 3:03 PM EDT, Tue July 8, 2014
Norman Matloff says a secret wage theft pact between Google, Apple and others highlights ethics problems in Silicon Valley.
updated 6:37 PM EDT, Tue July 8, 2014
The mother of murdered Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khder cries as she meets Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, West Bank on July 7, 2014.
Naseem Tuffaha says the killing of Israeli teenagers has rightly brought the world's condemnation, but Palestinian victims like his cousin's slain son have been largely reduced to faceless, nameless statistics.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT