Congressman Dave Reichert (WA-08), a member of the House Ways & Means Committee and Health Subcommittee, today released this statement following a full hearing on the health care overhaul's impact on the Medicare program and its beneficiaries.
"One of the key reasons I cited when voting against the health care overhaul was the negative impact on our seniors and the devastating cuts to Medicare," Reichert said. "The healthcare overhaul will make billions of dollars in cuts to Medicare Advantage, a program that has grown in popularity among seniors. Today, Dr. Donald Berwick -- the man put in charge of implementing major provisions of this massive takeover -- did not answer my questions about whether or not anything would be done to ensure that seniors who like their health plan can keep it. This morning's testimony was disappointing but serves as yet another reminder that my colleagues and I will need to work harder than ever to provide our constituents with the responsible healthcare reform that they need and deserve."
On March 21, 2010, Reichert rejected final passage of the health care overhaul because it would cripple efforts to rejuvenate the economy in the middle of a recession, cost more than $1 trillion, slash Medicare benefits by $523.5 billion, force crushing tax hikes of $569 billion on families and job creators, and take away their current health plans.
Since the bill's passage, Reichert has been an advocate of repealing and replacing the problematic provisions of the law. To that end, on January 26 he introduced the Restoring Assistance for Families' and Seniors' Health Expenses Act (H.R. 450), a proposal that would repeal the cap on the maximum annual contribution to Flexible Savings Accounts (FSAs), repeal the ban that prohibits holders of FSAs and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) from using money from their accounts to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, and restore the 7.5 percent income threshold to deduct out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Reichert has also questioned AARP for its support of the health care overhaul legislation, requesting that the organization explain its support for a proposal that would cut Medicare benefits, affecting millions of seniors.