The House of Representatives recently passed sweeping health care reform legislation pushed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi that will dramatically impact every family, taxpayer and small business in America. It creates a new "Health Choices Commissioner," a bureaucrat given vast authority over what benefits health insurance plans may and may not offer to you and your family. It also creates a "government insurance option" that will have an unfair competitive advantage and run other insurance options out of business, resulting in fewer choices for consumers. In fact, it is estimated that as many as 114 million people will lose their current health coverage under the bill.
This legislation amounts to a big government takeover of our health care system -- one that will lead to fewer choices, higher prices and rationed care. Furthermore, the bill creates more than 140 new government agencies and programs at a cost of well over $1 trillion.
To pay for this massive new government expansion, the legislation cuts Medicare for our nation's seniors by $500 billion. It also contains more than $730 billion in devastating new tax increases imposed on individuals, small businesses, health insurance companies and health care providers. Estimates indicate that as many as 5.5 million jobs could be lost as small businesses are forced to take money from salaries to pay new taxes. For all of these reasons, I voted against this bill.
We can all agree that our health care system needs reform, but there is a better way. I supported an alternative that would have empowered patients with choices, made high quality coverage more affordable and protected and preserved the doctor-patient relationship.
Unlike the Pelosi health care bill, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office confirmed that the plan offered by House Republicans would lower premiums by up to 10 percent and reduce the deficit by $68 billion over 10 years, all without imposing tax increases on families and small businesses and while improving the quality of health care.
The Republican proposal allows for the purchase of health insurance across state lines, allows individuals and small businesses to join large pools to get more competitive rates, provides tort reform to cut down the high cost of defensive medicine, allows full tax deductibility of health insurance premiums, portability of health insurance and protection against pre-existing condition exclusions. In addition, I support health insurance tax credits for individuals and families who don't have access to employer-based health insurance, a prohibition on pre-existing condition clauses, increasing the number of community health centers, and encouraging the use of health information technology to achieve greater efficiencies.
We must focus on strategies that help Americans obtain the best quality health care at the least cost, and ensure that the government fosters increased access to quality care based on individual choice, not by taking away choices from people on the grounds that government knows best.