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Opponents seek to repeal Affordable Care Act, see it as 'destructive as the Fugitive Slave Act'

  • Former Speaker of the House William O'Brien shakes hands with Americans for Prosperity New Hampshire State Director Greg Moore during Americans for Prosperity's "Wrong for New Hampshire Picnic and Rally at the State House to protest the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; Thursday, August 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

    Former Speaker of the House William O'Brien shakes hands with Americans for Prosperity New Hampshire State Director Greg Moore during Americans for Prosperity's "Wrong for New Hampshire Picnic and Rally at the State House to protest the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; Thursday, August 1, 2013.

    (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

  • Wally Heath of Windham uses his crutch as a brace to record a video on his phone during Americans for Prosperity's "Wrong for New Hampshire Picnic and Rally at the State House to protest the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; Thursday, August 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

    Wally Heath of Windham uses his crutch as a brace to record a video on his phone during Americans for Prosperity's "Wrong for New Hampshire Picnic and Rally at the State House to protest the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; Thursday, August 1, 2013.

    (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

  • Philip Straight, a state representative from Merrimack, holds a sign during Americans for Prosperity's "Wrong for New Hampshire Picnic and Rally at the State House to protest the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; Thursday, August 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

    Philip Straight, a state representative from Merrimack, holds a sign during Americans for Prosperity's "Wrong for New Hampshire Picnic and Rally at the State House to protest the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; Thursday, August 1, 2013.

    (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

  • John Hutchinson of Concord points to the small script that reads "stop socialism now!" during Americans for Prosperity's "Wrong for New Hampshire Picnic and Rally at the State House to protest the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; Thursday, August 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

    John Hutchinson of Concord points to the small script that reads "stop socialism now!" during Americans for Prosperity's "Wrong for New Hampshire Picnic and Rally at the State House to protest the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; Thursday, August 1, 2013.

    (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

  • Former Speaker of the House William O'Brien speaks at Americans for Prosperity's "Wrong for New Hampshire Picnic and Rally at the State House to protest the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; Thursday, August 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

    Former Speaker of the House William O'Brien speaks at Americans for Prosperity's "Wrong for New Hampshire Picnic and Rally at the State House to protest the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; Thursday, August 1, 2013.

    (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

  • Former Speaker of the House William O'Brien shakes hands with Americans for Prosperity New Hampshire State Director Greg Moore during Americans for Prosperity's "Wrong for New Hampshire Picnic and Rally at the State House to protest the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; Thursday, August 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)
  • Wally Heath of Windham uses his crutch as a brace to record a video on his phone during Americans for Prosperity's "Wrong for New Hampshire Picnic and Rally at the State House to protest the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; Thursday, August 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)
  • Philip Straight, a state representative from Merrimack, holds a sign during Americans for Prosperity's "Wrong for New Hampshire Picnic and Rally at the State House to protest the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; Thursday, August 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)
  • John Hutchinson of Concord points to the small script that reads "stop socialism now!" during Americans for Prosperity's "Wrong for New Hampshire Picnic and Rally at the State House to protest the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; Thursday, August 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)
  • Former Speaker of the House William O'Brien speaks at Americans for Prosperity's "Wrong for New Hampshire Picnic and Rally at the State House to protest the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; Thursday, August 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

At a State House rally yesterday, former House speaker Bill O’Brien compared the Affordable Care Act to an 1850 law enforcing slavery.

The health care law is “as destructive to personal and individual liberty as the Fugitive Slave Act,” said O’Brien, who remains a state lawmaker and is a likely candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2014 2nd Congressional District race.

O’Brien spoke to about 100 people gathered on the State House lawn for a rally and picnic sponsored by Americans for Prosperity’s New Hampshire chapter. Rally-goers said they attended to show they haven’t given up hope that the federal Affordable Care Act can be repealed.

O’Brien called for the health care law to be repealed in favor of “free health care markets.”

“They fooled us long enough to pass a law that is clearly among the worst ever enacted by Congress . . . and we are left with empty federal promises,” he said.

Greg Moore, Americans for Prosperity’s state director, said President Obama broke promises by instituting a tax on people who don’t obtain insurance after the law is implemented, and because health care premium costs in many states continued to increase after the law was passed.

“We need to slow down implementation of this law. People’s lives are at stake,” he said.

Rep. Pam Tucker, a Republican from Greenland, earned one of the largest rounds of applause during her remarks, which followed O’Brien’s. She lauded New Hampshire for refusing to take on the task of creating online insurance markets in the state, a central component of the reform law, leaving responsibility for that task to the federal government. State legislators have also delayed acceptance of federal money meant to employ advocates to educate people about the online marketplaces.

Zandra Rice-Hawkins of Granite State Progress attended the rally and responded to the speakers’ remarks afterward.

“Real health care advocates care about getting people covered. AFP is using health care as a political wedge,” she said. “We had funding available to the state to do outreach and education so that citizens could learn about the reform and make real choices. Now we’re hearing a lot of rhetoric instead, politicizing the issue for partisan reasons, purposely blocking the opportunity for actual advocates to educate the public.”

Later in the day, Harrell Kirstein, communications director for the New Hampshire Democratic Party, called on other Republicans to condemn O’Brien’s remarks linking the Affordable Care Act to slavery. The Fugitive Slave Act to which O’Brien referred allowed slave owners to recapture escaped slaves even after they reached free northern territory, and punished abolitionists who helped them.

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or
spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

Legacy Comments14

You are absolutely right, Sail. The President believed all the lies the Republicans fed him and gutted the ACA, took out the single payer just to get their votes and they left the American people high and dry and voted against it. The Republicans are a piece of work, "Repeal and replace." Still haven't heard much about replace yet. Forty years since Reagan they talked about fixing health care and all they ever do is nothing. Just like now off on a 5 week vacation, wonder how many of you jugheads will be complaining about the President"s vacation in MA. At least he tries. If those Republicans hadn't gerrymandered their seats they would be out on their butts. A 17% favorable rating. Truman hadn't seen nothing when he complained about a do nothing congress.

Wonder where the grey haired man with the crutch gets his health care from? Want to bet it isn't private but good old government health care called either medicare, medicaid or VA. Just like all the old tea party folk on medicare screaming "I don't want the government in my health care." How many plain citizens were at the rally and not right wing hacks?

I am a middle aged man with pre-existing condition. I was finally able to get health insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act opening up the risk pools. BUT, the state's failure, thanks to the last legislature, to set up a state insurance exchange caused the closing of the pool that insured me, and I was forced into one that costs me 30% more. So it is the politically-based refusal to comply with "Obamacare" that raised my rates, not the act itself. And that is exactly what opponents are afraid of -- that the law will do what it was intended to do.

You are luckier than most Veritas. For many of us, our premiums have gone up between 30-55%, higher deductibles and higher co pays. It is unrealistic to think that costs would not go up with the ACA. Medicaid costs will also rise. Who do you think will pay for all of this? The ACA has a some good points, but the bad points in it will cause it to collapse. Cannot work and the price of health care will get even higher. Health reform should have been done slowly. Not this way. It will cost jobs, reduce the quality of our health care, and pretty much have to be rationed on many levels. Those of you that thought the Supreme Court ruling was terrific, really do not understand the ruling. They left the power to the states like they always do in rulings, and because of that the ACA will collapse.

well said. Remember too that most of the premium increases of the past went to provide higher profits to insurers. Under the ACA insurance companies have to use the majority of the premiums collected to pay for care and retturn what they don't spend to the policy holders. All this flak about the ACA being so bad is just hyperbole from conservatives who bow to corporate intrests rather than their own,

I knew there was a reason I left Concord to go on a little vacation in VT. this week!

Dan, do your sanity a favor and establish domicile there. Everybody who knows you will miss you, but we'll eventually get over it - and the lucid ones will envy you.

This isn't about health care. It's about politics. It's about riling people up using man's most basic emotion: fear. It's about opposing President Obama in any way, shape and form possible--whether or not it's actually good for the country or it's citizens. There is no proof that the Affordable Care Act will do anything Republicans promise because it largely hasn't even been implemented yet. The similar 'Romneycare' is doing just fine in Mass. The threats of doom and gloom never materialized there. That O'Brien compared the ACA to the Fugitive Slave Act shows how ridiculous this whole thing is. Gimme a break….The ACA WILL NOT be repealed no matter how many times John Boehner votes on it. So now the tactic is to prevent federal funds from reaching the state level that would be used to help educate and sign people up for the program. It is trying to DENY people from getting health care. Pathetic.

Yup.

Gen X er, holding MA up as a state that does anything right is pretty naïve. Look were MA stands in rankings for highest taxes in all areas. They are right up there with CA, NY, CT, RI etc. Also look at what their budget spent on health care pre Romney Care and what they spend on health care now in MA. It was 23% pre Romney Care and now they spend 43% on health care. Expected to rise to 51% by 2020. Duval Patrick just keeps raising taxes.

There's a lot of good unbiased info here on "Romneycare". http://www.factcheck.org/2011/03/romneycare-facts-and-falsehoods/ It has 60-70% support from Mass residents and physicians. And this quote from Tim Murphy, Romney's Sec. of Health and Human Services: “from a state budgeting perspective, anybody who makes any type of comment that this is busting the bank, this is a runaway train, this is a failure, flat-out doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Simple as that.” And from the fiscally conservative Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation: "it's a well though-out piece of legislation".

Gen is right. Republicans, including Reagan, fought tooth and nail against Medicare and Medicaid using the same fear tactics. Imagine our country now without those healthcare services for the elderly and indigent. It's not a pretty picture.

100% democrat legislation - not a single Republican voted for it

Who's Bill O'Brien?

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