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Wicker Says Battle for Better Health Care is Not Over


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This past week marked the six-month anniversary of the day President Obama signed his health care bill into law. This law remains as unpopular today as it was when it passed in April. The administration promised Americans a bill that would reduce health care costs, improve the quality of care, and not add to the national debt. Unfortunately, the promises made are not matching with reality.

New Costs, Higher Taxes

One purpose of reforming the broken health care system was to drive down the escalating costs. However, several studies have reported that the new law is already resulting in higher costs. Recently, the administration's own Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that Americans would spend $310 billion more on health care under the new law than we would have without it. Across the country, insurance companies have announced hikes in premium rates to comply with the numerous federal mandates in the Democrats' health overhaul. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the new law will increase premiums for millions of families by up to $2,100 on average over the next five years.

The new law also burdens families and businesses with nearly $500 billion in new taxes, fees, and penalties. Medical device manufacturers, prescription drug companies, and health insurance companies face over $107 billion in tax increases, which most likely will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.

Medicare Cuts

Rising health care costs often burden Mississippi seniors the most. Rather than improve the health care system for our seniors, Congressional Democrats chose raid Medicare as a way to pay for part of the massive health care overhaul. As a result, seniors' access to care could be reduced or eliminated as more and more individuals struggle to find doctors that accept Medicare patients.

Just last week, CMS announced that 1.2 million seniors will soon be forced out of Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug plans they currently have. Additionally, the Medicare Trustees predicted that nine out of 10 seniors will lose their employer-sponsored retiree drug coverage and those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan may see their benefits reduced by over $800 a year.

More IRS Paperwork

The new law also hits businesses with a backdoor tax as a way to help pay for the $2.5 trillion legislation. Democrats included a provision requiring every company, nonprofit, and local and state government entity to submit an IRS 1099 form when goods purchased from another business exceed $600 in a given year. This mandate increases costs for 40 million businesses and burdens them with outrageous amounts of paperwork. Unduly penalizing employers will cost both money and time when our economy can least afford it.

Additional regulations and bureaucratic red tape stifles opportunity for Mississippi businesses to grow and hire new workers. According to one study, businesses are less likely to hire new employees because of the health care law's new taxes and mandates. With more than one in ten Mississippians looking for work, the President's law takes us in the wrong direction.

The Fight for Better Care is Not Over

Congressional Democrats and the administration defied the will of the American people by passing this bill six months ago. Mississippians and Americans across the country wanted health care reform that would reduce costs and increase the quality of care. Americans did not want tax increases, premium hikes, bureaucratic mandates, and cuts to seniors' benefits. It is no wonder 43 states have either joined lawsuits or taken other official actions to oppose the ObamaCare mandates.

This massive health care takeover will not be fully implemented until 2014. I am continuing to fight to repeal this massive government-takeover of our health care system. We can still work to provide Americans with the kind of reform that will fix the broken health care system and drive down costs.

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