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Rep. Calvert Votes Against Pelosi Government Takeover Of U.S. Health Care System

Press Release

Location: Washington D.C.

Today Congressman Ken Calvert (R-CA) voted against H.R. 3962, the Pelosi health care bill to create government-run health care.

"Rather than focusing on how to insure those who have been denied coverage and create a compromise bill that makes health care insurance more affordable and accessible, the Pelosi Congress has opted to pass a bill that will lead to a government takeover of our health care system," said Rep. Calvert. "I voted against the bill because I could not in good conscious vote for the first steps toward the creation of a single-payer system. This bill creates over $1trillion in new government spending, funded with the ‘hope' that our children will figure out how to pay the bill tomorrow and 'change' in Medicare that takes $500 billion from a program that covers over 40 million senior citizens.

"America has always relied on the ingenuity of our citizens and the competitiveness of our system to provide the best health care in the world. While I wholeheartedly agree that our system must be reformed and improved, H.R. 3962 passed by the Pelosi Congress is an abomination."

Rep. Calvert voted for Minority Leader Boehner's Substitute bill which was the Republican alternative to the Pelosi health care bill. He also voted for the Motion to Recommit which would have added common-sense medical liability reforms, imposed caps on non-economic damages of $250,000, capped punitive damages and restricted attorney contingency fees. In addition, the bill addresses concerns regarding the statute of limitations on malpractice liability and collateral source damages. The savings from enactment of those liability reforms--which would lower health costs by eliminating defensive medicine practices--would be directed into a new Seniors Protection and Medicare Regional Payment Equity Fund in order to correct physician reimbursement inequities and preserve seniors' choice and access to quality medical care.

Immediate Consequences of the Pelosi Health Care Plan:

RAISES TAXES: The Pelosi bill breaks a promise made by President Obama, imposing a range of tax increases on families with income below $250,000. Tax increases on middle class families include: an individual mandate tax of up to 2.5 percent of income for taxpayers earning as little as $9,350; a repeal of tax incentives for Americans to purchase many popular medicines with funds from an HSA (health savings account); new limits on FSAs (flexible spending accounts) destroying tax incentives for Americans to plan ahead for their medical expenses; a wheel chair, and other medical device, tax that the independent Congressional Budget Office agrees will be passed on to consumers; and a new tax on insurance policies.

MASSIVE CUTS TO MEDICARE ADVANTAGE: Under the Pelosi health care plan, $170 billion would be cut from the highly successful Medicare Advantage Program, which covers almost 50% of the Medicare beneficiaries in the 44th Congressional District, which would mean of the 36,124 beneficiaries in the District half would be effected. These cuts undermine a program that gives seniors the choice to enroll in a private option that provides the same benefits as traditional Medicare, prescription drug and other additional health benefits, usually with lower copayments. These cuts will result in reduced benefits to Medicare Advantage beneficiaries or in higher premiums and copayments for fixed income seniors for the same level of service. The Pelosi bill also gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services unchecked authority to reject, any Medicare Advantage or Part D provider's offer to provide coverage, giving another unelected bureaucrat the unlimited authority to force 10 million beneficiaries off of Medicare Advantage and onto government-run Medicare.

REWARDS TRIAL LAWYERS: The Pelosi plan bribes states to repeal effective liability reforms that cap fees for trial lawyers and limit punitive damages in malpractice lawsuits. California, which enacted these common sense reforms to lower medical liability costs for their residents, will lose out on federal funds for its health care systems if it does not repeal its reforms. This provision would force California to choose whether to put money into the hands of trial lawyers and repeal reforms or sacrifice needed health care dollars.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS RECEIVE BENEFITS: The Pelosi health care bill is extremely vague when it comes to citizenship verification processes. As the bill is currently written, a person would only need to "declare" that they are a citizen, provide a name and Social Security number and they would be eligible to receive health insurance benefits. There is no requirement for identification documentation whatsoever. It is absolutely unacceptable that this bill would not, at a minimum, require even one identification document in order to receive taxpayer funded health care benefits. The bill should include clear processes and require documentation to confirm that an individual applying for health care benefits is a citizen or legal resident of the United States (like E-Verify, a program Rep. Calvert created in 1996 for employers to verify the legal status of new employees).

FEDERAL FUNDING FOR ABORTION: Congressman Calvert voted in favor of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which maintains the current federal government policy of preventing federal funding for abortion and for benefits packages that include abortion. This amendment ensures that federal taxpayers will not be coerced into funding elective abortions and is supported by US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Democrats for Life, National Right to Life, Americans United for Life, Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America and many other pro-life groups.

"I look forward to continuing to work to ensure taxpayer funds are not used to fund abortions and to provide the broadest possible conscience protections for physicians, health professionals, hospitals, insurers, and all those in the business of caring for the health of Americans," said Rep. Calvert.

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