Congressman Jim Matheson said today it is critical that health care reform cover the uninsured while also ensuring that the health care system is secure, stable and affordable. Because the legislation pending in the House fails to accomplish those goals, Matheson said he will vote against HR 3962 when it comes to the floor.
"I am convinced that passing health care reform is a moral and a fiscal necessity. I believe that everyone in this country should have access to quality, affordable health care. On the practical side, we will never balance our federal budget and reduce our dangerous levels of debt without health care reform," said Matheson.
Matheson said he has participated for months in legislative efforts and offered substantial amendments to craft a bill that would cover 40 million people who are uninsured without adding to the deficit and by lowering the excessive growth in health care costs.
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the House bill would--in the future--actually increase both federal outlays for health care and the federal budgetary commitment to health care.
"Putting millions of additional people into a broken system will not work. After meeting directly with the Director of the Congressional Budget Office, I do not believe that this bill makes the system reforms needed to ensure financial stability for our families, our businesses and our federal treasury." said Matheson.
Matheson notes that health insurance premiums for Utah working families increased 85 percent between 2000 and 2007 while the median earnings increased 17 percent.
"The path we are on is not sustainable. Without real reform, we will continue to strain family budgets, threaten the survival of small businesses and explode our national deficits. But a one-size-fits all, nationally-run plan that doesn't acknowledge the different health demographics in the states isn't the answer, "Matheson said.
Matheson said he is encouraged that a bipartisan, budget-deficit-neutral, cost-lowering bill is on the table in the Senate. He said he will continue to be a constructive voice in the effort to pass health care reform in a way that provides better health, stability and opportunity for Utahns.