By DAVID SKOLNICK
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown called the House Republican plan to vote to repeal health-care reform “a colossal waste of time.”
“They’re just playing politics,” Brown said Tuesday at the Austintown Senior Center. “I think we need to focus on job creation.”
Brown, a Democrat from Avon, visited about 80 people at the center to discuss changes to health care that took effect last Saturday as part of President Barack Obama’s health-care package. The package was approved by the U.S. House and Senate last year when both were controlled by Democrats.
But the results of the November general election gave Republicans a majority in the House, effective today, with Democrats retaining control of the Senate, but with a smaller majority.
Republican House members are to vote Jan. 12 to repeal the health-care legislation. But with Democrats controlling the Senate and Obama, a Democrat, as president, the effort won’t go anywhere, Brown said.
House Republicans are considering plans to eliminate funding for some of the new health-care policies and may vote other times to eliminate provisions of the bill, according to the Associated Press.
Brown visited the senior center to discuss benefits for seniors who are on Medicare from the new policies, including discounts on prescription drugs, free annual wellness check-ups and free preventive health screenings with no co-payments or deductibles.
Leta Sims of Austintown, a retiree on Medicare who was at the Brown event, said: “There’s good and bad in everything. Whatever the bad part [of the policy] is I hope and pray they work on that. I’m sure the government won’t short-change us.”
Eileen Klope of Austintown, also a retiree on Medicare, said: “I like the idea of health-care reform, but I don’t want people being taxed for health care. We’ve needed it in this country for a long time.”