House Republicans, with the help of political snake Karl Rove, have passed a bill that would keep student loan rates from doubling in July. But that bill is also being used by Republicans as a vehicle to eliminate a key piece of the Affordable Care Act.
Known as the Interest Rate Reduction Act, the bill will keep interest rates on student loans low. But Republicans are once again playing political games with the lives of millions of Americans. Rather than just admitting that they’re a group of pricks and that President Obama is right about student loans, Republicans decided to include a provision within the bill that would kill the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a huge piece of the health care legislation signed by President Obama.
This strategy is a political ploy by Republicans to hurt President Obama in any possible way. If President Obama signs the bill, he would be effectively killing an important aspect of health care reform. If he vetoes the bill, Republicans can accuse him of not being on the side of students. Republicans enacted this despicable strategy with the help of former Bush Administration mastermind Karl Rove.
By effectively holding student loan relief hostage to destroy a major piece of the health care law, Republicans would be taking away crucial preventive care measures that make Americans healthier to avoid major health issues. According to Healthreform.gov, by eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund, Republicans are denying Americans the following funding:
• Putting Prevention to Work ($74 million). Support federal, state and community initiatives touse evidence-based interventions to address tobacco control, obesity prevention, HIV-related health disparities, and better nutrition and physical activity.
• Primary and Behavioral Health Integration ($20 million). Assist communities with the coordination and integration of primary care services into publicly-funded community mental health and other community-based behavioral health settings.
• Obesity Prevention and Fitness ($16 million). Advance activities to improve nutrition and increase physical activity to promote healthy lifestyles and reduce obesity related conditions and costs. These activities will support the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” initiative and help implement recommendations of the President’s Childhood Obesity Task Force.
• Tobacco Cessation ($16 million). Implement anti-tobacco media campaigns showing the negative health consequences of tobacco use, telephone-based tobacco cessation services, and outreach programs targeting vulnerable populations.
• Public Health Infrastructure ($50 million). Support state, local, and tribal public health infrastructure to advance health promotion and disease prevention through improved information technology, workforce training, and regulation and policy development.
• Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Grants ($20 million). Build state and local capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks.
• Community Preventive Services Task Force ($5 million). Strengthen CDC’s Community Guide by supporting the Task Force on Community Preventive Services’ efforts to identify and disseminate additional evidence-based recommendations on important public health decisions to inform policymakers, practitioners, and other decision makers.
• Clinical Preventive Services Task Force ($5 million). Expand the development of recommendations for clinical preventive services, with enhanced transparency and public involvement in the processes of the Task Force.
• Public Health Workforce ($8 million). Expand CDC public health workforce programs to increase the number of fellows trained and placed in public health positions.
• Public Health Training Centers ($15 million). Support training of public health providers to advance preventive medicine, health promotion and disease prevention, and improve the access and quality of health services in medically underserved communities.
It sounds to me like Republicans are demanding President Obama to choose between two major problems that affect the American economy as well as millions of Americans. Republicans are basically forcing President Obama to choose between lowering health care costs or lowering student loan costs. President Obama has already threatened to veto the bill, but either way, Republicans are going to blame him for something no matter what he does.
Republicans had yet another opportunity to show Americans that they care about America and are capable of working with President Obama, but they failed to take that opportunity. Instead, Republicans proved how little they care about students with debt by using their plight as a political weapon. They also proved how little they care about the health of Americans by trying to force Obama to eliminate a popular health care reform that would save millions of lives. Prevention is the ultimate defense against disease and would cut costs. But Republicans just don’t care, they want Americans to have bad health care. Just the fact that Republicans are using dirty tactics to screw over Americans either way is something that should cause their political doom. By trying to hurt President Obama, Republicans are willing to harm the American people. And crap like that shouldn’t fly in any election year.