Jay Angoff, special adviser to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, drew parallels between the two contentious efforts during a panel presentation in Baltimore. He said pushback from state governors over implementation of the law mirrors the acrimony held by many state lawmakers decades earlier when they had to adopt the civil rights package.
“The states fought the civil rights bill,” he said. “When we see some of the opposition to this law, we really ought to go back and remember the opposition to the civil rights law in the ’60s to see what we’ve come through and to see that the fight’s worth it.”
The comments were made Monday at a briefing with health care providers organized by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).
“I don’t want to say that the health care law is as important as the civil rights law,” Angoff said. “But there really are some analogies.”
It is telling that the comments came on the same day that the Kaiser Family Foundation released a poll showing that Americans disapprove of the law by a 44/39 margin. Rasmussen’s tracking poll, meanwhile, shows that 57 percent of Americans favor repealing the law. Only 37 percent, according to the poll, want it to remain on the books.
If Angoff’s statement inflates an unpopular, ineffective federal entitlement, it also debases a movement focused on granting core liberties to all Americans. That he would conflate the two speaks volumes about this administration’s flawed conception of “rights.”
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