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White House press secretary warns students of health care repeal

Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, warned students during a conference call Tuesday that repealing recent health-care legislation would work against their interests.

Under the new Democratic-sponsored law, students can stay covered under their parents’ health-care plan until they turn 26. Gibbs estimated this decision affects 1.2 million young adults.

“Graduates can make post-graduate plans that do not rely on their ability to find their own health care,” said Matt Caffrey, president of College Democrats at Ohio State.

The law went into effect in March 2010.

Under the new health-care plan, it is illegal for health-care companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions under the age of 19. In 2012, no discrimination based on pre-existing conditions will be allowed, regardless of age.

Some Republicans are afraid additional rules will result in additional cost.

“Costs are going to skyrocket,” said Dave Ebersole, president of the Law School Republicans. “This (law) is going to cause a lot of other budget cuts and people are not going to like it.”

The Medicaid expansion will cover those with family incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty line, and will include insurance exchanges where small businesses and individuals can buy insurance.

“People want a bigger bang for their health-care dollar,” Gibbs said.

However, many Republicans have not been pleased with the new law’s effects on the economy and business.

“It’s unconstitutional to have someone buy insurance they do not want,” said Lisa Peterson Hackley, spokeswoman for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Gibbs estimated between 250,000 and 400,000 jobs could be lost each year if a Republican-controlled House repeals the current legislation.

Speaker of the House John Boehner disagreed with Gibbs, noting his own report that predicts up to 650,000 job losses if the law stays in effect.

“By raising taxes, imposing new mandates and increasing uncertainty for employers and entrepreneurs, ‘ObamaCare’ is already destroying jobs in this country,” Boehner said in a Jan. 6 press release.

House Republicans, now with a majority of votes, plan to repeal the law Wednesday in a symbolic gesture against its allegedly unconstitutional nature. Because of Democratic control in the White House and Senate, most experts do not predict the repeal will have any direct effect on future legislation.

The Republicans’ symbolic move does not amuse the Democrats.

“Republicans will pay the price,” Gibbs said. “We can not afford to go backward.”

Ohio, under the direction of DeWine, has joined with 19 other states to repeal the law through judicial channels.

“By ignoring the constitutional limits on federal power, the health-care law tramples on the rights of Ohio’s citizens,” DeWine said in a Jan. 10 press release.

President Barack Obama, in a statement issued after the Tuesday conference call, applauded health-care reform’s effects.

“The American people have greater health security than they did a year ago,” Obama said.


Judy Samson contributed to this story.

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