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Public Statements

Issue Position: Health Care Reform

Issue Position

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The Supreme Court exposed ObamaCare for what it actually is: a massive tax imposed upon people who can least afford it. The Supreme Court decision means that the only way to stop ObamaCare is to defeat politicians like Ben Chandler who have voted against repeal of this disaster for working families.

Every day that ObamaCare remains in effect means rising health care costs, skyrocketing insurance premiums, accelerating job losses, and an exploding federal deficit. In Congress, I will work to fully repeal this unworkable law and replace it with market-based, patient-centered reforms that will lower the cost of health insurance without growing government.
Why ObamaCare Must Be Repealed

Congress should have never rammed through this 2,700-page monstrosity in the dead of night when most members of Congress had not even had a chance to read it. As Ben Chandler's choice for Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, infamously said, "[w]e have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." But as flawed as the process was in enacting ObamaCare, the substance is even worse.

ObamaCare did not remedy the deficiencies of our health care system. It made them worse.

ObamaCare Taxes the Middle Class

As the Supreme Court pointed out, ObamaCare is a massive tax on those who can least afford it. Although Congress is not constitutionally empowered to compel a citizen to purchase health insurance, the Supreme Court held that Congress may exercise its taxing powers to punish people who fail to purchase health insurance. This is exactly what ObamaCare does: It imposes punishing taxes on middle class Americans who can't afford skyrocketing health insurance premiums. Instead of putting citizens in the crosshairs of the IRS, Congress should repeal ObamaCare and enact health care reform that will actually make health insurance more affordable.

ObamaCare Will Slow Economic Growth

ObamaCare is a job-killer. It imposes more than $525 billion in new taxes, fees and penalties on families and small businesses. Many of these new taxes are set to take effect next January, including new taxes on medical device manufacturers, pharmaceuticals, and private investment. The Director of the Congressional Budget Office has testified that ObamaCare will reduce employment by 800,000 workers. But that may be just the tip of the iceberg considering ObamaCare's punitive employer mandate, which will dramatically increase the cost of labor and discourage hiring.

ObamaCare Taxes Health Care and Stifles Innovation

Several of the new taxes in ObamaCare, including taxes on medical device manufacturers and drug companies, will stifle innovation and make life-saving or life-improving medicines and treatments more expensive for consumers. These new taxes apply to the sale of everything from cardiac defibrillators to artificial joints to MRI scanners. As biopharmaceutical firms and device manufacturers become less profitable, research and development funding will dry up, limiting medical breakthroughs Americans have become accustomed to in the fight against illness and disease. These new taxes will also be passed onto consumers in the form of higher prices, making promising new drugs, treatments and medical devices less affordable for the American people.

ObamaCare Cuts Medicare and Exacerbates America's Doctor Shortage

ObamaCare will exacerbate the nation's doctor shortage, estimated to be 150,000 fewer doctors than needed. This will directly impact Americans' access to the health care they and their families need, when they need it. Physicians already receive significantly reduced payments for participating in government health care programs. Medicaid payments are typically half what private insurance pays. ObamaCare will expand Medicaid by 20 million people, meaning doctors will receive substantially lower payments for substantially more patients. ObamaCare also cuts Medicare by over $500 billion, which will result in more payment cuts to physicians. Even worse, ObamaCare establishes the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a 15-member board of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington empowered to gut Medicare and even further reduce physician reimbursements under Medicare. The IPAB will be able to set payment rates for some treatments so low that no doctor or hospital or other healthcare professional would provide them, effectively denying patients access to the care they need. Many physicians will be forced to limit the number of Medicare beneficiaries they see, opt out of the Medicare program, or be driven out of the practice of medicine altogether. This will exacerbate the nation's doctor shortage and lead to severe rationing of health care.

ObamaCare Moves Decision-Making to Washington

In addition to empowering bureaucrats through the IPAB, ObamaCare delegates an excessive level of rulemaking power to the Department of Health and Human Services. At last count, there were 5,931 pages of regulations promulgated under ObamaCare, including rules mandating what private insurers must cover and complicated formulas governing insurance premiums based on a family's annual income and family size. In sum, ObamaCare severely erodes the doctor-patient relationship by giving the government greater control over health care.

ObamaCare will Bankrupt the Country

Health care entitlement spending was already on an unsustainable trajectory before the passage of ObamaCare. With ObamaCare, our $16 trillion national debt will only get worse. The latest CBO projection for ObamaCare has the law's price tag at $1.76 trillion over the next ten years. That averages out to about $12,753 for every American taxpayer. Even with the massive cuts to Medicare and huge tax increases, ObamaCare is still woefully underfunded. Despite Nancy Pelosi's promise that the bill "will not add one dime to the deficit," the Medicare Trustee now reports that ObamaCare will add at least $340 billion to the deficit. Moreover, ObamaCare's massive expansion of Medicaid will place a significant additional burden not just on the federal budget, but on state budgets as well.

ObamaCare Increases the Cost of Health Care and Millions of Americans will Lose Coverage

Despite President Obama's promise that his law would save families $2,500 every year, family health insurance premiums actually rose 9% in 2011 with ObamaCare playing a major role in the increase. In fact, employees' share of premium costs increased 9.3% between 2011 and 2012, with the dollar burden rising from $2,529 to $2,764. In addition, Americans younger than 35 who try to buy their own insurance will pay $504 per year more under ObamaCare. Finally, despite President Obama's claim that "if you like your current health insurance, you can keep it," the CBO estimates that 20 million Americans could lose their employer-sponsored healthcare under ObamaCare.

We must fully repeal this costly government health care takeover, an experiment that has failed to reduce health care costs or improve care. Congress needs to start over, fully repeal this unworkable law and replace it with real health care reform that places trust in the patient-doctor relationship, not in a government bureaucracy.
Market-Based, Patient-Centered Reform

If the objective of health care reform is to reduce the cost of health care and make health insurance more affordable, then we must start by breaking down the silos that have been erected in our health care system over the years and expand competition in the marketplace. If we want to improve the quality of care delivered, we must return decision-making to doctors and patients and get government bureaucrats out of the way. The current system is not working, and no amount of new government bureaucracy can fix it.

To improve health care in the United States, we should:

Authorize interstate competition among the 1,300 private health insurers across the nation to increase choice and drive down cost.

Replace or supplement the current tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance with a system of family and individual tax credits to make health insurance more affordable and portable.

Enact sensible medical liability reform, which would prevent defensive medicine, lower health care costs, and save as much as $54 billion over the next decade.

Expand Association Health Plans to allow small businesses and the self-insured to band together to purchase coverage on a more affordable basis.

Promote consumerism through high-deductible, tax free Health Savings Accounts that will reconnect the health care consumer to the cost of health care services.


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