Dems take on Grimm’s ‘job-killing canard’ in health care debate

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Photo by Tom Callan

The repeal of President Obama’s landmark health care reform on Wednesday was punctuated with plenty of Brooklyn moxie — and a few indirect swipes at freshman Rep. Michael Grimm, the only Republican in the city’s congressional delegation.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D–Sheepshead Bay) said House Republicans “made stuff up” during their drive to kill the year-old legislation — and made the accusation in classic Weiner fashion.

“For those at home playing the popular drinking game where you take a shot every time the Republicans say something that’s not true, please assign a designated driver,” Weiner said before the Republican majority led the 245–189 vote to repeal the so-called “Obamacare.”

As always, Weiner belted out his testimony in a fast-paced, passionate and sarcastic fashion that’s earned him the nickname “the Midwood Mouth.”

Weiner accused freshmen like the Bay Ridge Republican Grimm of “creating bogeymen” out of health care reform advocates by using “canard” terms like “socialized medicine” as they stumped to have the bill repealed.

Others slammed Grimm for wanting to end health care reform while gladly accepting the federally provided coverage that was offered to him.

“What am I, not supposed to have health care?” Grimm told the Daily News, in a much-repeated, widely blogged comment. “It’s practicality. I’m not going to become a burden for the state because I don’t have health care and, God forbid, I get into an accident and I can’t afford the operation. … That can happen to anyone.”

Rep. Steve Cohen (D–Tennessee) recalled the comment in his remarks on Wednesday.

“[That statement] succinctly summed up the reason why everyone should have the same opportunity members of Congress have,” Cohen said.

Unlike Grimm, 10 freshman Republicans have refused to take the health insurance plan offered to federal employees. Rep. Ronald Dold (R–Ill.) took his vow during the debate itself.

Grimm was the only New York representative to vote for the repeal. Repeated calls to his office were not returned. He has always called the health care law “a jobs killer.”

Weiner targeted that language, saying that he was tired of “glib things like ‘government takeover’ and ‘job killing.’ Read the bill!” Weiner shouted.

He and the Democrats say that the repeal will cost small businesses tax incentives that would help them acquire health care for their employees.

“If Republicans are successful, small businesses will lose that tax incentive,” Weiner said. “Do you think that will create a lot of jobs guys? And if a small business doesn’t provide health insurance and one of their people has to go to hospital emergency rooms to get their care, who do you think pays for that bill? The bill fairy? The taxpayer does!”

Republicans said the health care reform enacted last year will kill 650,000 jobs, close hospitals, hurt small businesses and increase the deficit by $701 billion in the next decade.

But Democrats, bolstered by a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, said that reform would reduce the deficit by $143 billion over the same period.

Grimm has objected to the budget office report, claiming that the agency “double-counted both Social Security and Medicaid, which they shouldn’t have.”

He said repealing Obamacare would “save $2.6 trillion.”

Congress’s vote was ultimately symbolic. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–Nev.) has made it clear that he won’t take up the repeal vote — leaving Obamacare on the books for the foreseeable future.