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Mr. GOODLATTE. Last week, Democratic leaders in Congress introduced the ``America's Affordable Health Choices Act,'' which sets the tone for a Washington takeover of the health care system, one defined by Federal regulation, mandates, a myriad of new big government programs, and a significant increase in Federal spending. A recent poll, which was released at the beginning of July, indicates that Americans by a margin of 2-1 think a government takeover of health care would be a bad thing. Unfortunately, the Democratic leadership is not listening to the American people and they are pushing legislation which only offers more of what is wrong with the current system.
At least two different independent analyses of the House Democrats health care legislation estimate that more than 100 million Americans would lose their current health care coverage. In addition to losing their health insurance, Americans are going to lose control over their health care decisions. Under the Democrats' vision, Washington would have ultimate control over what is best for patients, what treatments are acceptable, and how long patients wait for needed care. Additionally, this misguided health care legislation is estimated to cost the Federal Government as much as $1.5 trillion. In fact, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf testified before the House Ways and Means Committee that the coverage proposals in this legislation would expand Federal spending on health care to a significant degree. He went on to say that in CBO's analysis so far, they didn't see other provisions in the legislation reducing Federal health spending by a corresponding degree.
To pay for this massive new government expansion, the legislation contains $820 billion in new job-killing tax increases imposed on certain income filers, a majority of whom are small businesses, even while the country remains in a serious recession. Struggling middle class families need jobs and small businesses cannot afford to hire more workers while paying higher taxes. It's simple. People want to focus on creating jobs, not raising taxes. For this reason, the National Retail Federation, which represents the employers of one in five American workers, the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents over 350,000 small
and independent businesses, the United States Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Manufacturers all strongly oppose the current health care reform legislation.
Rather than creating a massive government-managed health care bureaucracy that will dictate medical decisions from Washington, we should be concentrating our efforts on making health care more affordable for all Americans and giving them the freedom to choose the health care and health insurance plans that best fit their needs. Some important first steps toward real health care reform include creating health insurance tax credits, which will increase the affordability of health care for those who do not have access to employer-based health insurance, expanding health savings accounts, creating association health plans which allow employers to band together to purchase insurance coverage at lower rates for their employees, medical malpractice reform, which would discourage the practice of defensive medicine, and encouraging the establishment of a nationwide health information technology network which can reduce medical errors, save time, money and, most importantly, save lives.
While we can all agree that our current health care system is flawed, there are many different ideas about how to fix it. Republicans have solutions that will empower patients with choices, make high quality coverage more affordable, and protect and preserve the doctor-patient relationship. The most important principles in health care reform are holding down costs and preserving consumer choices. We already spend far more per person than any other country in the world. Reform must mean using the health care dollars we now spend in a smarter, more effective way. We should be preserving and enhancing the ability of people to choose the plans that are tailored to their needs and the doctors that they trust to guide them, not putting more power in the hands of Washington bureaucrats.
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