Fact Check: How the health care law was made
November 10 2010
In the days since last Tuesday's election, there has been no shortage of media attention on the health care bill.
Unfortunately, many of the same interests that spread myths about "death panels" are using their spotlight to rewrite the history of the legislation. On a recent cable news show, the hosts repeatedly suggested that the Republican Party was shut out of negotiations over the Affordable Care Act.
Far from it.
Despite the partisan vote on the bill, the fact is that the Affordable Care Act was a product of exhaustive bipartisan compromise. Indeed, some of the most important provisions in the bill were actually GOP ideas:
- A high-risk pool for uninsured people with preexisting conditions
- Allowing insurance companies to sell coverage across state lines
- Pools where the self-employed and small businesses could buy insurance
In February, The Washington Post's Ezra Klein described in detail how all four health care planks on the GOP's Solutions for America website were incorporated into the bill. In fact, even the individual mandate itself has a strong history of support within the Republican Party, including from the Heritage Foundation, Mitt Romney and Chuck Grassley.
Media Matters reported the following numbers about Republican involvement in the Affordable Care Act over the past 18 months:
According to a HELP Committee document about bipartisan aspects of the health reform bill the committee passed July 15, 2009, its final bill included "161 Republican amendments," including "several amendments from Senators [Mike] Enzi [R-WY], [Tom] Coburn [R-OK], [Pat] Roberts [R-KS] and others [that] make certain that nothing in the legislation will allow for rationing of care," and reflected the efforts of "six bipartisan working groups" that "met a combined 72 times" in 2009 as well as "30 bipartisan hearings on health care reform" since 2007, half of which were held in 2009 [HELP Committee document, 7/09]. And according to the Senate Finance Committee's September 22, 2009, document detailing the amendments to the Chairman's Mark considered, at least 13 amendments sponsored by one or more Republican senators were included in the bill.
It's always unfortunate to see more misinformation on the Affordable Care Act, but it should serve as a good reminder to everyone that it's more important than ever to spread the truth about the health care bill.
Talk to your friends and family today about what's at stake — and make sure to check back at AmericasFairHealthCare.org. We're going to keep working hard to set the record straight on health care.