Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 2 minutes.
Mr. Speaker, I support this legislation that repeals the Democrats' job-stifling, cost-increasing, freedom-limiting health care law.
This bill would repeal a requirement that every individual buy a certain kind of health insurance. The Congressional Research Service confirms that the Federal Government has never forced all Americans to buy any good or service--until now.
This mandate violates Congress' powers under the commerce clause if our Constitution of limited Federal powers means anything. It's a major reason to repeal the health care bill.
One particularly costly part of our health care system is the practice of so-called defensive medicine, which occurs when doctors must conduct tests and prescribe drugs that are not medically required because of the threat of lawsuits. Taxpayers pay for this wasteful defensive medicine, which adds to health care costs.
The Democrats' health care law goes exactly the wrong direction. Incredibly, it contains a provision that prohibits any new limits on litigation from being enforced because it allows lawyers to opt out of any system that limits their ability to sue. This is contrary to the best interests of all Americans--except trial lawyers. The health care bill can only be read as an invitation to trial lawyers to sue medical personnel. That's another reason to repeal this health care bill.
The Democrats' health care law will produce more litigation and more costly health care. Those are two good reasons we should repeal it.
I reserve the balance of my time.
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Mr. SMITH of Texas. I yield myself the balance of my time.
Madam Speaker, the Democrats' health care bill squanders health care resources and taxpayer money by encouraging wasteful defensive medicine. It explicitly prevents States from making any effective legal reforms under its provisions, and expands opportunities for lawyers to sue doctors who did absolutely nothing wrong. And it limits the supply of doctors when patients need them most.
In fact, one particularly costly part of our health care system is the practice of so-called ``defensive medicine,'' which occurs when doctors are forced by the threat of lawsuits to conduct tests and prescribe drugs that are not medically required. A survey released last year found defensive medicine is practiced by virtually all physicians.
Lawsuit abuse does more than make medical care much more expensive. It drives doctors out of business. Doctors who specialize in inherently high-risk fields are leaving their practices and hospitals are shutting down because their high exposure to liability makes lawsuit insurance unaffordable.
It can have deadly consequences. Hundreds and even thousands of patients may die annually for lack of doctors.
Madam Speaker, the Democrats' health care law will produce more litigation and less effective health care. That is why it should be repealed.
I yield back the balance of my time.
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