By Representative Bonner
As we approach the second anniversary of the enactment of President Obama's controversial health care law, a new look at the total cost of Obamacare as well as its impact on Americans wanting to keep employer-provided medical coverage confirms what many Alabamians already know. It will cost more and many will lose their choice of job-based coverage.
Last week the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released updated cost estimates for President Obama's mammoth "Affordable Care Act". The CBO now projects Obamacare will come with a $1.76 trillion price tag -- nearly double what President Obama promised when he signed his signature health care law in March 2010.
When the president and the former Democrat-led Congress forced Obamacare through the House and Senate two years ago they failed to provide a full picture of the costs of the new law. They based their $940 billion total cost calculation on a six-year projection due to the delayed implementation of Obamacare.
I voted against Obamacare twice and remain opposed to its implementation. Whether $940 billion or double that amount, the president's health care law is not only too expensive, but it forces too many Americans to give up the coverage they prefer. The CBO analysis also points to four million Americans losing their employer-based medical plans if Obamacare is fully implemented.
Naturally, I've supported efforts to stop Obamacare through direct repeal as well as to dismantle the law piece by piece. In January 2011, I joined with a majority of the Republican House in voting to repeal Obamacare outright. And, just last month I voted to terminate an already discredited portion of Obamacare, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program. This month I also plan to vote with House Republicans to repeal Obamacare's Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).
In response to Mr. Obama's attack on religious institutions, I have cosponsored the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act which would prevent the government from forcing certain health care coverage on Americans who oppose the coverage based on religious and moral grounds.
Health care reform can be done without big government mandates or driving up the deficit. I continue to support common sense market-based reforms, including the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines and offering the right to coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions.
Talking Jobs in Monroeville
Growing jobs continues to be a priority here in the Republican House. At home, Governor Bentley and Alabama's economic development team are working overtime to promote Alabama to international jobs providers.
Last week I was pleased to join Governor Bentley in a historic international business forum where officials from across the state gathered to promote Alabama with one of the state's fastest growing international trading partners, China. More than 300 senior executives, business leaders and government officials from Alabama and China sat down at Monroeville's Alabama Southern Community College to talk about the advantages of foreign investment in our state.
China is currently Alabama's second largest export market and that country is expected to ramp up investment in the United States as it eyes additional ways to sell goods in North America. Alabama already hosts more than 360 foreign companies from Huntsville to Mobile. Earlier this year Alabama officials announced China's first investment in our state. Golden Dragon Copper is expected to bring more than 400 jobs to Wilcox County.
Just as Mercedes' coming to Tuscaloosa paved the way for auto industry jobs in our state and placed Alabama on the map for international investors, officials hope to make Alabama a familiar name for Chinese businesses looking to locate jobs in America. Monroeville was chosen as the location for the forum to showcase the many advantages of Southwest Alabama, including an abundant workforce, easy access to the Port of Mobile and a pro-business atmosphere that already has already welcomed more than 50 international companies to our region.
Monroeville deserves great credit for putting out a large welcome mat for the many Chinese business executives who visited our state for the first time. For sure, they received a heaping helping of our Southern hospitality. I heard many compliments from our foreign guests. Special thanks to Mr. George Landegger for his leadership in making this event a reality.
We all look forward to the seeds planted last week sprouting into new job opportunities as international investors see first-hand what Southwest Alabama has to offer.
My staff and I work for you. If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721.