Congressman Lynch believes that every American should have access to quality healthcare, regardless of their employment status or income level. For this reason, Congressman Lynch remains supportive of initiatives and programs designed to increase patient access, provide affordable premiums and drug prices for patients, establish appropriate reimbursement rates for doctors, sustain our nations existing Community Health Centers, continue the mission of our Teaching Hospitals, and invest into Health IT and preventative care.
During the second week of the 111th Congress, Congressman Lynch and his colleagues passed H.R. 2, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Reauthorization (P.L. 111-3) by a vote of 289 ayes to 139 nays. This legislation reauthorized the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) through FY 2013 and provided an additional $35 billion dollars for the program increasing the total SCHIP allotment to roughly $60 billion. This funding increase will give coverage to an estimated 4.1 million children, bringing the overall total to 11 million.
Health Care Reform
On March 25, 2010 Congress concluded a long and difficult debate over the shape and substance of America's health care system. Congressman Lynch remains supportive of the ultimate goal of providing access to health care for every American, while keeping costs down for those who already have coverage. However, he opposed the Senate bill that was ultimately put forth. Congressman Lynch believes that this legislation, which costs almost $1 trillion, offered little to reform the current skyrocketing costs of the fee-for-service system that is dominated by the insurance industry.
Congressman Lynch supported the House version of health care reform, H.R. 3962, which he believes would have achieved real reform by introducing cost containment and competition to challenge the dominance of the insurance companies and push down prices, in order to use those savings to provide access to health care for every America. First, Congressman Lynch supported H.R. 3962 because it repealed the antitrust exemption that allowed insurance companies to operate as monopolies and cartels in restraint of trade. Secondly, the House version allowed each state to establish a true public option with the object of offering low-cost insurance plans, which Congressman Lynch believes would have forced insurance companies to compete. Lastly, the House version provided a progressive funding structure that asked individuals making over $500,000 a year, or couples filing jointly and earning over $1,000,000 a year to pay a health care surcharge to pay for expanded coverage for the uninsured.
In contrast, Congressman Lynch believes that the Senate Bill, H.R. 3590, then stripped out much of the reform that the House bill offered. First, it restored the antitrust exemption for insurers, allowing them to continue to operate as monopolies. Secondly, the Senate Bill eliminated the modest opportunity for states to establish public options. And lastly, the Senate Bill removed the tax on those with incomes above $500,000 and instead placed that tax on people who already have high cost health care plans. This includes many large employers and union health plans where, over the years, members opted for less money in their paychecks or stood on picket lines to gain health care for their families.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became Public Law 111-148 on March 23, 2010. While Congressman Lynch appreciates that it will add 32 million people to the insurance rolls, he believes that we still need to figure out how to control the costs of the current system, and pay for this massive expansion of services, as prices continue to rise precipitously. For this reason, Congressman Lynch remains committed to working with his colleagues in Congress to fix and improve this legislation moving forward.