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Public Statements

Issue Position: Health Care Reform

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

Congressional leaders are relying on backroom deals and unconstitutional mandates to ram through health care reform. Instead of targeting the problem of rising health care costs, and making health insurance more affordable, the leading proposals in Congress would amount to a government takeover of our health care system. The same government that gave us Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac now thinks it can do a better job providing health care than your private doctor and your private hospital. Make no mistake, this is a Trojan horse that would ultimately lead to a single payer, government run health care system.

The Pelosi bill is over 2,000 pages long, costs nearly $2.5 trillion when fully implemented, and would increase taxes over $800 billion. This includes a $544 billion surtax on small business owners who file their taxes as individuals, either as subchapter S-corporations or as pass-through entities, and $208 billion in new taxes on businesses that cannot afford to pay for their employees' health care. Small businesses represent more than 99 percent of all businesses in the country, and employ half of the total U.S. workforce. The result of these new taxes would be the loss of an estimated 5.5 million jobs.

In addition, the House proposal includes nearly $500 billion in cuts to Medicare. These cuts are not designed to shore up the existing program but, instead, to expand Medicaid and create an entirely new government-run program. Medicare is not sustainable under current law. Now, the politicians in Washington are further undermining Medicare's long-term solvency by creating an entirely new set of unfunded government obligations.

A new federal "health choices commissioner" would also have the authority to impose a broad array of new one-size-fits-all mandates. And the individual mandate is clearly unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has never interpreted the commerce power to allow Congress to require Americans buy particular goods or services at a particular price. If it had, there literally would be no limit to congressional power.

Rather than fix the problem with our current system, the proposals pending in Congress would actually increase health care costs over the next decade by $289 billion, forcing millions of Americans to lose their current health care coverage. According to an actuarial report prepared by the President's own Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, health costs would rise to 21.1 percent of GDP by 2019, as compared to 20.8 percent under current law. A recent WellPoint study estimated that younger Americans could see their health care premiums triple and a family of four could see their health care premiums more than double.

Our health care system needs reform, but it should be done in the open, not behind closed doors, in a way that treats all states equally and in a manner that reduces health care costs through increased private sector competition and choice.

That is why I have pledged to the people of this District to sponsor and support legislation to repeal any federal health care takeover passed in 2010, and replace it with real reforms that lower health care costs, without growing government.

I will support real reform that relies on free-market solutions, rather than the government, as a way to preserve quality, increase competition and choice, and decrease cost.

I support:

*Encouraging interstate competition among the 1,300 private insurers across the nation by authorizing interstate compacts among state departments of insurance. This increased competition would drive down cost without federal preemption.
*Insurance reform that does not include a "public option" but instead allows individuals to deduct from their taxes the costs of insurance premiums just like employers to make health insurance more affordable and portable.
*Sensible medical liability reform, which would prevent defensive medicine, lower health care costs, and save as much as $54 billion over the next decade according to the Congressional Budget Office.
*Encouraging Association Health Plans to allow small businesses and the self-insured to band together to purchase coverage on a more affordable basis.
*Promoting consumerism through high deductible, tax free Health Savings Accounts that will reconnect the health care consumer to the cost of health care services.
*Focusing on wellness and prevention, rather than an orientation toward expensive treatment of preventable disease.
*A renewed focus on health care information technology to bring medical care into the 21st century without government mandates. The government should consider incentives to increase the voluntary use of electronic medical records and billing in a way that is more efficient, protects patient privacy and decreases medical errors.

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