House Dems: Freshman GOP unaware of reform's benefits

House Democrats trying to build support for the healthcare reform law say their new Republican colleagues are unaware of the law's benefits.

Energy and Commerce Committee ranking Democrat Henry Waxman (Calif.) and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) say the GOP's efforts to repeal the reform law would take consumer protections away from constituents of freshman GOP congressmen.

“Healthcare reform is already delivering important health benefits to your constituents,” Waxman and Pallone wrote Tuesday morning. “As a result of the law, insurers have stopped discriminating against sick children in your district, seniors in your district are saving money on prescription drugs, small businesses in your district are receiving tax credits to provide health insurance and insured individuals with individual or employer coverage are enjoying new rights and protections against insurance industry abuses.”

In their statement, the Democratic congressmen fault the GOP for not holding any hearings on the repeal bill so the new freshmen can learn about it.

“The failure to hold hearings denies members and the public an opportunity to understand fully what is at stake,” they wrote. “This is especially a problem for freshmen [sic] members because they did not participate in any of the many hearings held last Congress prior to passage of the health reform law.”

Republicans said the November elections that swept them into power in the House was proof that Americans want them to quickly repeal the reform law. GOP-led House committees will hold hearings on elements to replace the reform law.

With Republicans set to repeal the healthcare reform law on Wednesday, Democrats have been touting the law’s consumer protections over the past few weeks. A new Energy and Commerce report released by Democrats Tuesday morning provides district-specific statistics on how many individuals would lose consumer protections if the law is repealed.

The Wednesday vote is largely symbolic, because Senate Democrats have promised to block the legislation, and President Obama said he would veto the repeal bill if it were to wind up on his desk.