Marking Second Anniversary of Obamacare
It has been two years since the President's health care law was rammed through Congress in the face of bipartisan opposition including unanimous opposition from House Republicans, and the disapproval of nearly 2/3rds of the American people. Since this health care overhaul was forced on us, its price tag has nearly doubled to $1.76 trillion. It has been deemed unconstitutional by several lower courts, and is scheduled for review by the Supreme Court with arguments being heard next week. And despite many of its most favorable features going into effect, Obamacare's popularity hasn't improved a bit.
Over the last two years, as we have seen this bill unfold, many of my, and the American people's, worst fears about this massive legislation have been confirmed. From the 1099 reporting rules that would crush our small businesses to the 15 unelected bureaucrats on the Independent Payment Advisory Board possibly rationing care for our seniors to the individual mandate impacting all Americans, working to repeal this law has become a full time job. Yet, we won't be able to fully protect all Americans until the President's health care overhaul has been completely repealed and replaced with honest reforms that will drive down the cost of health care for all. I voted against this legislation, voted to repeal it in the House and will not rest until we fulfill that pledge to repeal and replace this bill with true, responsible, cost-effective reforms.
Removing Obamacare Barriers Between Doctor and Patient
This week, the House, with my support, passed H.R. 5, the Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act. This commonsense, bi-partisan legislation would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), set up in the President's health care overhaul, and enact true medical liability reforms to lower health care costs for all. Together, the reforms in this legislation will reduce the deficit by over $45 billion according to the CBO.
The President's health care law is chock-full of pitfalls, tax increases, government overreaches, and newly created bureaucracies, but perhaps the most outrageous and dangerous manifestation in Obamacare is the IPAB. This board of 15 arbitrarily appointed bureaucrats is charged with slashing Medicare reimbursement rates, which will drastically impact the medicine and procedures available to our seniors. The IPAB gives these bureaucrats unprecedented power with no accountability, no judicial review, and no requirement of transparency. The simple fact is the American people don't want, and certainly don't need, bureaucrats coming between us and our doctors.
I was proud to vote for the repeal of the IPAB this week, but I was also pleased to enact honest and straight forward medical liability reform designed to strengthen our health care system for all. Frivolous lawsuits have caused malpractice insurance rates to sky rocket. As a result, the price of health care for patients has followed the same trajectory and we have seen dramatic health care access issues for our rural communities. This legislation represents commonsense, bipartisan, fiscally responsible reforms that strengthen the doctor patient relationship and put the American people back in charge of their health care decisions.
I expressed similar sentiments on the House Floor this week when speaking in favor of the PATH Act during floor debate. The video of my remarks can be seen below:
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Chairing Hearing with IRS Commissioner
Hardworking American taxpayers have faced incredible challenges over the last several years. Many have struggled with unemployment, sluggish economic growth, and doubt about our country's economic future because of out-of-control spending and looming public debt. And now tax season has reared its ugly head.
The tax code, which has tripled in size since 1975, continues to burden American families and small businesses with too many taxes, too many loopholes, and too many pages. It is estimated that the average taxpayer spends 21 hours and over $250 complying with the tax code each year. The Internal Revenue Service, of course, has the unenviable job of administering and enforcing our convoluted tax code.
This week, I was given the opportunity to fill in as Chair of the Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee when our subcommittee Chairman Congressman Boustany was unable to be there. This hearing was a wonderful opportunity to discuss our overly complicated, complex, and costly tax code and hear directly from the IRS about how their policies and enforcement mechanisms are helping or hurting the American people as they attempt to comply with the code.
We are currently in the midst of the 2012 tax return filing season and millions of taxpayers and employers are working to meet their tax filing obligations, so this hearing came at a very opportune time. We had the chance to discuss the massive problems with tax fraud, where the IRS is placing its priorities, tax enforcement procedures, IRS customer service, and many other topics.
To see my opening remarks and my questions for the IRS Commissioner click the videos below. And please remember, if you are ever having problems with the IRS, my casework team in Topeka are experts in helping folks with IRS problems. Don't hesitate to reach out to them at 785-234-5966.