By Meghashyam Mali - 07/01/12 04:05 PM EDT
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday warned Republicans that they would suffer at the polls if they continued to push for a repeal of the president’s healthcare reform bill.
“If Republicans make that their number one issue, the repeal of healthcare, they are certainly going to lose the election, in the House and the Senate and the presidency,” said Schumer on CBS’s “Face the Nation”.
Congressional Republicans and GOP presidential candidate have vowed to undo the law, after the Supreme Court upheld much if the Affordable Care Act in a 5-4 ruling Thursday.
A House vote on repeal is expected on July 11 and Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that senators will need only 51 votes under reconciliation to repeal the health law after the high court said a central provision, the individual mandate, was constitutional under Congress’s taxing powers.
Schumer though cautioned Republicans that calling for full repeal would kill many popular provisions in the bill, including many that GOP lawmakers backed.
“The bill overall people do not want repealed,” insisted Schumer.
House Speaker John Boehner on Sunday said he supported full repeal despite the presence of some “good” measures in the legislation. He promised that lawmakers would take up those individual provisions through a “step-by-step” approach, but only after the full law was voided.
Also appearing on CBS, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) reiterated GOP criticisms of the bill, saying it was fundamentally flawed and did little to address the real issues with healthcare.
“The disease is healthcare costs too much and with the Affordable Care Act it’s going to cost a whole lot more,” said Coburn. “Now the estimate with the Supreme Court ruling is about $1.9 trillion.”
We have to fix the problems not the symptoms and you’re hearing all this politics about it, what we should have is real access and real care for people without an insurance company or the government between the patient and the physician. We’ve not done that with this bill and a lot of the programs that are out there today don’t do it and we need to change healthcare in America, but what we’ve done is make the problem worse not better,” he added.
The Oklahoma senator also defended his statement made last week to a local state newspaper that the healthcare reform bill would “Sovietize” medicine in the U.S.
Asked about those remarks, Coburn responded, “that means that the bureaucrats and politicians are in charge of your healthcare and that’s exactly what this has done. There’s not going to be individual choice. “
Schumer said that GOP lawmakers should shift their attention from healthcare to passing measures to help boost the economy.
"The number one thing people want us to focus on is jobs, the economy, increase middle class paychecks,” Schumer said. “The GOP is in a box, the Tea Party is pulling them over to talk about repeal, that’s only six or seven in the polls. The economy, jobs, paychecks number one.”
“The way we get back to Congress it’s going to be a great contrast,” he said. “They are going to vote on repeal of healthcare, litigating a battle that’s been going on for four years that the American people want us to move on and we are going to put forward a small business jobs tax cut.”
Schumer also took a shot at GOP claims that the healthcare bill was a tax increase. “Mitt Romney’s in a total pickle here. He prescribed this. This was his bill,” said Schumer, referring to the healthcare reform package Romney signed as governor of Massachusetts. “Speaker Boehner is saying it’s a tax increase… are they going to say that Mitt Romney passed the biggest tax increase in Massachusetts? Forget about it.”
Democrats have rebuffed Romney's criticisms of the president's healthcare plan, by claiming the reforms he implemented in Massachusetts were a blueprint for the administration. Romney though has said that he never intended those measures to be implemented nationally.