U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield (KY-01) voted yesterday to repeal a mandate recently signed into law as part of the healthcare reform package which will require all Americans to purchase health insurance or face a tax penalty.
"Despite fierce backlash in Kentucky and across the country to the recently enacted healthcare law, Speaker Pelosi and her leadership team in the House have rejected an opportunity to fix a part of this controversial law," Whitfield said. "The requirement that all Americans purchase health insurance goes against our Constitution and will only make tough economic times worse for many families struggling to get by. Repealing this provision is an important first step to redirecting this misguided healthcare reform law."
Whitfield voted for a motion which would have repealed the requirement in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the new healthcare law passed by Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid and President Obama earlier this year, that all individuals must purchase health insurance or pay a tax. Beginning in 2014, individuals who do not obtain coverage will have to pay the greater of 2.5% of income or $695 per individual. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that nearly 75 percent of Americans who will pay this tax will have household incomes below 500 percent of the federal poverty level, which is approximately $73,000 for a married couple with no children. The motion Whitfield supported yesterday, which did not pass, would have repealed this requirement.
Whitfield opposed the final healthcare reform package passed by Congress in March, citing the negative impact the measure will have on the quality of care all Kentuckians receive, small businesses and the national debt as well as the back-room deal making which plagued the entire process.