January 19, 2011 / 5:18 PM / 9 years ago

Geithner says healthcare repeal bad for U.S. economy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Wednesday said repealing healthcare reforms would damage the economy, as the House of Representatives debated the law’s repeal.

Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner prepares to start the Financial Stability Oversight Council meeting at the Treasury Department to discuss the Volker Rule from the Dodd-Frank Act in Washington, January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Larry Downing

“Repealing the Affordable Care Act would be bad for business and bad for the economy,” Geithner said in a blog posting on the Treasury’s website.

“We are at a crucial stage of the economic recovery. While the private sector has expanded payrolls for 12 straight months, the unemployment rate remains at an unacceptable level,” Geithner said. “Given where we are, we must do things that help bolster the recovery, and repealing the Affordable Care Act would be a step in the wrong direction.”

The House is expected to vote on the repeal late on Wednesday, pressed by many newly elected Republicans who made campaign promises to repeal President Barack Obama’s overhaul of the healthcare sector passed last year.

While the Republican-controlled chamber is expected pass the bill, it looks certain to die in the Senate, which is still controlled by Democrats.

Republicans have characterized the Obama healthcare law as “job-killing,” arguing that it saddles businesses with high costs and complicated regulations and encourages firms to shed employees to avoid certain requirements to provide coverage.

But Geithner said the act will help reduce health insurance premiums charged to businesses and government by eliminating hidden costs to cover the uninsured. Nearly 95 percent of Americans will be covered under the law.

He also said the reforms will slow spiraling growth in healthcare costs, which otherwise would make it increasingly difficult for businesses and government to provide insurance. It will redirect resources from unnecessary healthcare spending toward more economically productive priorities, he said.

“It provides businesses and the government certainty that health care costs will be contained in the future,” he said, encouraging businesses and families to invest.

SOURCE: bit.ly/hoaCSG Treasury Notes, online January 19, 2011.

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