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Kansas Common Sense: Health Care Reform Two Years Later - Still Not Right for Kansas


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Dear Friend,

Welcome to "Kansas Common Sense." Thank you for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter. Please feel free to forward it on to your family and friends if it would interest them.

This week, the Senate passed HR. 3606, the JOBS bill by a vote of 73-26. This legislation, which passed the House of Representatives, last week will help start-up companies raise capital. I voted in favor of this bill and am encouraged by the fact that more members of Congress are realizing the virtues of entrepreneurs and startups and their ability to create jobs and spur the economy.

Also this week, the Senate passed S. 2038, the STOCK Act, by a 96-3 vote. This legislation will prohibit Members of Congress from using nonpublic information derived from their official positions for personal benefit. Already passed by the House, the bill has been sent to President Obama for his signature. I supported this bill, as Members of Congress must abide by the same rules as all Americans.

Friday was the second anniversary of President Obama's health care reform plan becoming law. And, beginning today, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments for three consecutive days over the constitutionality of the law. The President promised his health plan would lower health care costs and strengthen our health care system for millions of Americans. However, over the past two years, the widespread impact of the new law has become clear: it is making things worse. Health care costs are skyrocketing, access to quality care has been weakened, and many Americans will lose their current insurance coverage as a result of the law.

I have serious concerns that the President's health law will jeopardize access to quality health care for Kansans and threaten the survival of small towns. Instead of working to strengthen Medicare, the law cut the program by nearly $530 billion to create a new entitlement. These cuts disproportionately affect rural hospitals in Kansas and across the country because they care for a higher percentage of Medicare patients than their urban counterparts. If Medicare rates are cut even further below the actual cost of care, this will create shortages of doctors, nurses, and other providers. The President's own chief Medicare actuary raised concerns that cuts to hospitals and other Medicare providers could cause as many as 40 percent of providers to become unprofitable. This will severely jeopardize access to care for Kansans in rural communities, where 75 percent of our hospitals are located.

We need to replace this damaging law with sensible, targeted reforms to drive down health care costs without hindering access to quality health care. This week I wrote an opinion piece outlining the reasons why the President's health law is the wrong direction for Kansas and our country.

On Wednesday, I also participated in a discussion on the Senate floor with several of my colleagues to share some of my concerns about the health law.

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