Just days ago the House of Representatives, with my support, delivered on our promise to the American people to hold a vote on legislation that would repeal the sweeping health care reform law, passed by the last Congress. For nearly two years now the American people have been attending town hall meetings, sending letters and e-mails and making phone calls. Their message has been simple and consistent: We don't want a government takeover of our health care system.
With total disregard for the will of the American people, the Majority in the last Congress pushed through a health care reform law, which was defined by federal regulations, mandates, a myriad of new big government programs, and a significant increase in federal spending and debt at a cost to our country too high to bear. This legislation, which was signed into law last year, gives Washington bureaucrats ultimate control over what is best for you and your family -- deciding when and what treatment you can receive.
The so-called health care reform law creates more than 150 new government agencies and programs at a cost of well over $1.2 trillion. It mandates that folks buy health insurance, makes significant cuts to Medicare and includes $569 billion in devastating new tax increases imposed on individuals and small businesses.
Americans are frustrated by rising health care costs. Instead of passing legislation that raises taxes, raises health care costs, adds to our national debt, and hurts America's seniors, families and small businesses, Congress must focus on policies that cut health insurance costs and make health care better, more available, and more affordable for all Americans.
In addition, I voted in support of a resolution which instructs the House Committees with jurisdiction over health care to each develop and report out legislation proposing replacements to the flawed health care reform law. The appropriate House Committees will now begin working on this replacement legislation which will likely include proposals such as allowing for the purchase of health insurance across state lines, allowing individuals and small businesses to join large pools to get more competitive rates, providing tort reform to cut down the high cost of defensive medicine, allowing full tax deductibility of health insurance premiums, and providing for portability of health insurance and protection against pre-existing condition exclusions. A replacement health care bill should also increase the number of community health centers, encourage the use of health information technology to achieve greater efficiencies and provide health insurance tax credits for individuals and families who don't have access to employer-based health insurance.
We need a positive, patient-centered strategy that puts patients, families and doctors, not Washington bureaucrats, in control of personal health care decisions. While we can all agree that our current health care system needs to be reformed, the new health care law was not the right way to do it which is why there was a bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives to repeal it. Now is the time to focus on replacing it with commonsense measures that expand access and choices while lowering costs.