ACA supporters ask opponents to stop roadblocks

A handful of local Democrats gathered Wednesday at an Oregon District restaurant to promote the Affordable Care Act and rally against Republicans in Congress for wasting taxpayers’ time and money with feeble attempts to undermine the health care law.

Dayton City Commissioner Matt Joseph criticized House Republicans — including U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton — for spending valuable time voting to repeal Obamacare with the knowledge that the Democratic-controlled Senate and President Barack Obama would block any attempt at repeal.

Regardless, House Republicans voted for the 40th time just before their summer recess to repeal the law they commonly refer to as Obamacare.

“Now is not the time to impose extra burdens on American families and businesses when our economy is struggling to get back on track. I strongly support repeal of Obamacare and am committed to working with my colleagues to carefully and thoughtfully implement real healthcare reform,” Turner said in a statement last month.

Despite the rhetoric, Joseph said House Republicans have offered no real solutions.

“Instead of offering an alternative or amendments to fix holes in the law, they’ve adopted a ‘take-your-ball-and-go-home approach,”’ Joseph said. “That’s just not effective governance.”

Ronald Sylvester, a spokesman for ProtectYourCare — a liberal group dedicated to promoting the ACA — was also critical of the Ohio Department of Insurance for actively trying to discredit the health care law.

Ohio is among a number of Republican-led states that have deferred to the federal government to set up health care exchanges, or online marketplaces where individuals and small business can go to buy subsidized insurance.

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor — who heads Ohio’s insurance department and is an outspoken Obamacare critic — has said the department won’t actively promote Ohio’s exchange.

However, Taylor has released premium cost estimates for health plans her department approved for sale on the exchange that Sylvester described as intentionally misleading because the estimates did not include federal subsidies that would offset premium costs.

“What we would like to see from Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor is for her to treat the department of insurance as a regulatory agency first, not a political organ, but unfortunately that’s what’s happening,” Sylvester said.

The insurance department declined to comment.

Bob Mendenhall, who hosted the event at his restaurant, Lily’s Bistro, also blamed many of the country’s business owners for misleading the public.

Employers around the country have complained they’ll have to freeze hiring and cut workers’ hours so they won’t trigger a provision of the law that requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer health insurance or pay a fine.

The so-called employer mandate has been delayed for a year.

But Mendenhall doesn’t think the impact would be any different if it were imposed next year, as planned.

“You can always come up with a rationale for not hiring workers or not giving a worker a benefit,” he said. “But when it comes to hiring, if I can’t meet demand with my staff, I’m going to add somebody. It’s the same for everybody. It’s not a formula base on health care.”