Dems call on Scott to back health care

Tim Scott

Patti Brassington of West Ashley believes in last year's health care overhaul enough that she spent part of Tuesday afternoon defending it.

Brassington was one of a half-dozen volunteers who gathered at the Charleston County Democratic Party's headquarters to phone voters in the 1st Congressional District and ask them a simple question:

Would they be willing to call U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and urge him not to vote to repeal the health care reform?

Brassington said she had called about 30 people in her first hour and got mostly positive responses.

'I had one person who said it's impossible to fight the Republican machine,' she said. 'You're always going to hear that.'

Byron Wellman, field director for Organizing for America — an advocacy group that promotes President Barack Obama's agenda — said the calls will let Scott know that many of his voters support health care reform. The House could vote on the issue as early as today.

Wellman said the names on the calling lists were either voters who supported Obama two years ago or voters who since have expressed support for health care reform.

Charleston County Democratic Chairman George Tempel and his wife, Carol, joined the effort. He said he believes the calls will drive home the message that health care reform will benefit people by lowering costs; ensuring children with pre-existing conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes, no longer are denied coverage; and letting children remain on their parents' health care plans longer.

Scott said his office had received 'a couple hundred' calls from opponents of repealing health care reform, but they didn't change his mind.

'Congress had an opportunity last year to reform what ails our health care system and instead, the federal government took it over,' he said.

Scott said he would push for market-based reforms to improve the system, including allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines and passing medical tort reform to lessen frivolous lawsuits and to allow doctors to stop practicing defensive medicine.

Scott campaigned largely on a promise to repeal health care reform — a red meat issue for the tea party movement. The new Republican House majority is expected to vote to repeal it, even though the U.S. Senate and Obama won't go along.

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., said repealing the law would be a big setback.

'Repeal will raise many seniors' prescription drug costs and end their free preventive care,' he said. 'It will increase health care costs for millions of Americans, cause many families to lose coverage, and increase the national debt by over $1 trillion.'