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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Democrats begin push back on health care repeal



Democrats and their allies today unleashed a blitz of news releases, studies, targeted e-mails and a TV ad today as House Republicans begin the effort to repeal the health care law.

"It's irresponsible, it will hurt real people," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said during a conference call that just began.

The South Florida congresswoman warned that the repeal would "give control back to insurance companies" and allow them to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. She shared the story of Chastity Hart, a 19 year old in Miami with lupus who recently spent six months undergoing chemotherapy and last week was sent to the emergency room for spinal cord problems.

Chastity has been able to stay on her mother's insurance while she continues to go to college -- one of the more popular provisions of the new law. The family would also not face an annual or lifetime coverage cap, Wasserman Schultz said.

People in the Florida's 2nd Congressional District were getting e-mail from Organizing for America urging them to call Rep. Steve Southerland. "Tell the person on the phone that you're a constituent, that Florida does not support repeal, and that you're counting on them to protect the Affordable Care Act, regardless of party affiliation," the e-mail instructs.

The same e-mail targeted Republicans across the country, including newly-elected South Florida Rep. Allen West. His D.C. office was being bombarded with callers Tuesday afternoon, according to an aide who answered the phone.

The debate begins this afternoon and a vote is set for tomorrow. It will pass but then hit a wall in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Then, perhaps, will come the real discussion as Republicans focus on individual parts of the legislation, parts of which some Democrats agree should be changed. Expect it to play a large role in the 2012 election.

For their part, Republicans on Tuesday were highlighting a letter signed by 200 economists and experts who say the taxes and mandates under the new law will create “major barriers to stronger job growth." Read more here.

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 3:01pm]


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