Representative James Lankford (R-OK) expressed disappointment today in the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but emphasized that the fight to challenge the law is far from over. In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate to purchase health insurance as a tax under Congress' power to tax and spend.
"While I am furious with the Supreme Court's decision, I know the fight is not over," Representative Lankford said. "President Obama, Representative Nancy Pelosi, and Majority Leader Harry Reid will stop at nothing to expand the powers of the federal government. This is the largest power grab in American history, and my Republican colleagues and I will proceed with every option at our disposal to ensure that this power is returned to the American people. If the individual mandate for health insurance is considered a tax, nothing is off limits for this Administration to tax."
"The Supreme Court today reaffirmed that it is Congress' job to clean up its own mess, not the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Roberts stated that it is not the responsibility of the Supreme Court to protect people from their political decisions. The focus of the court on Congress' power to tax reminds Americans again that it is essential that you elect representatives that will limit their tax appetite. The challenge at the heart of this debate is the dichotomy of personal liberty and government mandates.
"Just because the Supreme Court interpreted this law to be constitutional does not make it a good law," Representative Lankford continued.
The national healthcare law, a product of the Obama White House and the previous House and Senate, has faced questions of constitutionality for more than two years. Recent data from a New York Times/CBS News poll show that nearly two-thirds of all Americans oppose the President's healthcare law.
"One of the most troubling aspects of the bill is the creation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)," Lankford said. "This panel of 15 bureaucrats will ration Medicare payments as a "cost-cutting' initiative. These appointees will be the final decision makers in paying for many seniors' healthcare. The Affordable Care Act will also add an estimated $3 trillion on top of the country's already enormous $16 trillion debt. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) originally estimated the Affordable Care Act would cost $900 billion to implement, but the cost estimates have already doubled to almost $2 trillion."
Another overlooked aspect of this new law is the effect it will have on physician-owned hospitals; Section 6001 of the bill prevents doctors from investing in new hospitals. Doctors will not be allowed to invest or operate new hospitals; however, lawyers and hedge fund managers would be able to invest in new or existing medical facilities.
"Apparently the administration wants to take doctors entirely out of healthcare. In my district physician-owned, for-profit and non-profit hospitals provide world-class care," Representative Lankford continued. "This law disallows the creation of any new physician-owned hospitals and limits competition for larger medical facilities. Further, once the law fully takes effect, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA's) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA's) will be discontinued. Patient choice, like doctor participation, is minimal in the President's healthcare plan.
"On a personal level, the Supreme Court's decision on the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate is deeply troubling to me. HHS forces private, faith-based medical institutions and charities to implement certain services regardless of religious opposition, namely forcing them to perform abortions and provide contraception. I firmly believe in the freedom of religion without government intervention. This law strikes at the heart of this important constitutional liberty."
"The Supreme Court's confirmation of the constitutionality of this immoral law makes these onerous provisions no less frightening. I will continue to do all that I can to fight the harmful aspects of the law," Lankford concluded.