I do not question the need for Congress to find a way for the millions of Americans without health insurance to be assured of quality, affordable health care. But I believe Congress can do better than the over 2,400-page, nearly $1 trillion bill signed into law by President Obama last year. I voted against this bill, as did every Republican in the House as well as 34 Democrats.
I also voted to repeal this legislation and have voted more than a dozen times to defund the new law. Our nation's health care system is far from perfect, and I will continue to support reforms such as guaranteeing that no one is denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, allowing young adults to stay on their parents' health care plans until they reach age 26, allowing individuals to purchase insurance across state lines, and working for medical liability reform.
But I believe that Congress must find ways to pay for these reforms rather than continuing to add to the national debt. The health care reform legislation pushed by Democrats and the Obama Administration uses budget gimmicks to hide new costs, imposes new taxes on small business owners looking to hire, forces individuals to buy health insurance, and drastically cuts Medicare. Their version of health care reform will stifle economic growth - the wrong action to take during an economic downturn.
The vast majority of 10th District constituents who have contacted me about health care reform let me know that they want Republicans and Democrats to work together, in an open and transparent process, to pass responsible health care reform that will lower costs and offer greater access to affordable health care.
In order to achieve these shared goals, we must repeal the law passed last year and start a bipartisan process that protects both the health care security of Americans and the financial security of America. That's why I also voted for legislation which will instruct four House committees to begin preparing replacement bills that will lower health care premiums through increased competition and choice; preserve a patient's ability to keep his or her health plan if he or she likes it; provide people with pre-existing conditions access to affordable health coverage; reform the medical liability system to reduce unnecessary and wasteful health care spending; increase the number of insured Americans, and protect the doctor-patient relationship, among other reforms.
We must work to provide care to those currently in need without unduly burdening future generations. With nearly $62 trillion in liabilities and unfunded entitlement obligations, we cannot continue to add to the nation's credit card and deny the truth about our nation's debt. I want to see Congress pass thoughtful, bipartisan health care reforms that do not violate our moral obligation to pass on a better society to our children and grandchildren. Voting to repeal the flawed legislation passed last year is the first step toward that end.
Repeal and Replace
The rising cost of health care coverage is one of the most pressing issues for many Americans. Government spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid is driving our nation's deficits. I support repealing the bill signed into by President Obama so that new legislation can be enacted in its place. Such legislation should focus on lowering the cost of health care coverage by increasing competition in the private health insurance market. Lowering the cost of health care will expand access to coverage for all Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions.
Health care is also a very personal matter and there are very real consequences to how Congress approaches this issue and what the results are. If there were ever an issue that calls for thoughtful, bipartisan cooperation in Congress, it is health care reform.