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Op-Ed: Health Plan Will Increase Costs for Families and Kill Jobs


Location: Washington, DC

Op-Ed: Health Plan Will Increase Costs for Families and Kill Jobs

During a recent telephone town hall, a constituent from Bowling Green told me, "Being a two-time cancer survivor, and possibly having it for a third time, I'm very concerned about health care reform. I know money is tight for everyone right now, but I'm worried about new taxes and being forced to accept government-run health care. I just really think if we have less government in health care, we would be better off."

Since then, countless others across the Second District have shared similar concerns about the troubling health care reform legislation that is being rushed through in Congress.

There is no question that our current system is a challenge to many families in Kentucky - particularly the soaring costs of treatment and prescription medication. Add this to the rising prices of food, housing, and transportation, and it is clear that middle-class families are struggling. That's why Americans' top priority during this debate is a plan that will reduce costs.

I am committed to real reform that makes health care more affordable and accessible without sacrificing the high-quality, personalized care that we currently enjoy. Unfortunately, the plan that is currently being debated will not accomplish this. Instead, it will dramatically increase costs - for your family, America's small businesses, and all taxpayers.

Last week, Douglas Elmendorf, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), testified before Congress that under this proposal costs would "significantly increase." That's because it adds a new layer of taxes, unfunded mandates, and red tape on top of the current system. And as if that's not bad enough, this plan cuts Medicare and takes away choices for millions of seniors. The bottom line: less access to the medicine and treatments you need.

In addition to raising the cost of health care, the CBO also projects that this legislation would cost over $1 trillion to implement and increase the national debt by at least $239 billion over the next 10 years. This enormous cost will force us to borrow more from other countries while we stick our children and grandchildren with the bill. We cannot continue spending money we do not have.

Millions of Americans will be forced into a government-run plan as a result of this legislation. One nonpartisan analysis predicts that 114 million Americans will lose their coverage under this proposal, despite promises that those who like their current health care plan will be able to keep it.

Not only will this legislation raise your costs and increase the national deficit, but it will also dramatically raise taxes on small businesses. At the core of this legislation is a tax on job providers and other employer mandates that will eliminate jobs. The National Federation of Independent Businesses, the association that represents 350,000 small businesses across America, says that this tax will destroy 1.6 million jobs - nearly two-thirds from small businesses. With our fragile economic condition, it is not the time to impose a job-killing scheme on small businesses.

Our nation's health system is too important to rush through a proposal that will raise your costs and cut jobs - exactly the opposite of what the American people want. Now is the time for us to work together on a plan that gives more Americans access to affordable coverage and protects jobs. For information about my principles for health care reform, please visit the special health care section of my web site.

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