Op-Ed: House Health Plan Unaffordable
In the late hours of Nov. 7, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on legislation that attempts to dramatically revamp our nation's health care system.
This 2,000-plus page, $1.3 trillion Democratic health care proposal is a measure that raises individual and business taxes and reduces funding for Medicare.
H.R. 3962 increases spending by more than $1 trillion at a time when our levels of debt and deficits are at all-time highs.
The bill imposes a 5.4 percent "surtax" on thousands of individuals and families in my congressional district during an economic recession and when New Jerseyans are paying some of the highest federal, state and local property taxes in the country.
The health care bill levies a 2.5 percent tax on the Garden State's medical device industry that employs more than 300,000 in New Jersey alone at a time when New Jersey's unemployment rate is nearly 10 percent.
The measure ignores common-sense malpractice reforms while cutting Medicare by nearly $500 billion, leading the Medical Society of New Jersey and its doctors and medical professionals to come out in opposition to H.R. 3962.
In short, this bill, if signed into law, will be harmful to New Jersey's taxpayers, seniors and businesses. As such, I joined a bipartisan minority in strong opposition to this measure.
But make no mistake -- I support health care reform.
Like the majority of my colleagues I strongly support health care reform. But not the reform that narrowly passed the Congress 220-215.
I stand in support of common sense steps to broaden health care access and responsible solutions that address the rising cost of health care.
I believe reform ought to include portability -- allowing people to keep their health insurance whether they change jobs or move to a different state. And no one should be denied coverage for preexisting conditions.
Yet the call for common-sense health care reform should be one that our nation can afford.
I supported a fiscally responsible alternative health care reform bill that reduces costs and expands insurance coverage without raising taxes, rationing care or putting the government between patient and doctor.
The Republican reform bill includes medical liability reform that will seek to end junk lawsuits that force doctors to practice defensive medicine driving up health care costs.
The GOP alternative would have allowed families and businesses buy health insurance across state lines while also allowing individuals, small businesses and trade associations to pool together and purchase health insurance at lower prices.
It levies no taxes on New Jersey's medical device industry to help ensure that New Jersey continues to be the "Medicine Chest of the World."
These are ideas that have strong, bipartisan support but were absent from the Democrats' new reform legislation.
Instead of focusing on fiscally responsible reforms that have bipartisan support, the Democratic leadership chose a path that ignores good ideas from the Republican side of the aisle.
The Republican substitute was the only health care reform measure that improves what is working in our health care system and fixes what is broken in a fiscally responsible manner without raising taxes or increasing our ever-growing debt and deficit.